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JEFFERSON DAVIS 
POLITICAL SOLDIER 




JEFFERSON DAVIS 
From the portrait in the War Department 



JEFFERSON DAVIS 
POLITICAL SOLDIER 



by 

ELISABETH CUTTING 



1LLUSTRA TED 




DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY 
NEWYORK - - - - 1930 



1930, 
BY ELISABETH CUTTING 



PRINTED IN THE U. S. A. BY 

^feufam <& jBobcn ^Company, 3nc, 

BOOK MAJMU FACTU RERS 



To 
G. C. R. 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

IN undertaking to assemble any material relating to the 
life of Jefferson Davis the indebtedness would always begin 
with the comprehensive volume of William E. Dodd, 
Professor of History at the University of Chicago 5 with 
the papers of Walter L. Fleming in the Publications of the 
Mississippi Historical Society, and the Mississippi Valley 
Historical Association for the early years, and the fine study, 
stressing the military side, of H. J. Eckenrode, State His- 
torian of Virginia. I am indebted to these sources as well 
as to Mr. Eckenrode personally for valuable suggestions. 

My acknowledgments of courtesies and aid in opportu- 
nities to consult material during the past three years are 
made most appreciatively to President Edwin A. Alderman 
of the University of Virginia and to the Librarian of the 
University Library, Mr. Harry demons, for special assist- 
ance in investigation made through the Library, to Dr. H. R. 
Mcllvaine, Librarian, Virginia State Library, Miss Susan B. 
Harrison, House Regent of the Confederate Museum, Rich- 
mond, the Georgia Historical Society at Savannah, The 
Georgia State Capitol Library at Atlanta, Mr. Herbert Put- 
nam, the Librarian of the Library of Congress, to the Super- 
intendent of Cadets at West Point for permission to have 
access to the Library of the United States Military Academy, 
to Dr. Thomas Montgomery Lynch of the Pennsylvania 
Historical Society at Philadelphia, Mr. Malcolm O. Young 
of the Library of Princeton University, the New York Pub- 
lic Library with its invaluable file of the London Times , and 



viii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

to the staff at the Columbia University Library in putting at 
my disposal the valuable material the Library possesses. 

Other acknowledgments are made in appreciation to the 
Hon. Henry St. George Tucker, Member of Congress from 
Virginia, Brigadier-General Samuel A. Tillman, United 
States Army, retired, the late Major George Haven Put- 
nam, to Colonel Frederick Palmer, to Dr. Willis Fletcher 
Johnson, to Mr. Alfred Huger of Charleston, and to nu- 
merous others, in and of the South whose assistance was as 
gracious as the Southland itself. 

To Mr. George Macaulay Trevelyan, Late Fellow of 
Trinity College, Cambridge, I am especially indebted, an 
acknowledgment which has been made in the course of the 
book; to the Manuscript Division of the British Museum 5 
and also to the Deputy Keeper of the Public Record Office, 
London, and to His Excellency, the Comte de Jean, at the 
Ministere des Affaires etrangeres, Paris, for the necessary 
permission for access to the Records and to the Archives, 
which, only recently, have been made available down to 
1870. 



FOREWORD 

A BOY of eight, shy, sensitive, over-serious for his years, for 
he had lived them in the tumult of a great war, who, in the 
years to come, was destined to be part of an even greater, 
stood with his family in the hushed stillness of the main 
street of a fine old Southern city and witnessed a grim sight. 
The President of the Confederate States of America, Jeffer- 
son Davis, a captive, under guard of Federal soldiers, was 
passing through Augusta. 

' What impression the child had of this grave incident his 
most recent biographer fails to tell us. But some forty years 
later, in his maturity, writing as an acknowledged political 
scientist of the first rank, as well as a lover of the South, con- 
sidered study of Jefferson Davis and his Presidency led him 
to estimate the man in this wise: 

"Not a little of the dogged perseverance and undaunted 
action of those closing months of the struggle had been due 
to the masterful characteristics of Mr. Jefferson Davis, the 
President of the Confederacy. He had served a distinguished 
apprenticeship in arms in the Mexican War, a still more dis- 
tinguished apprenticeship in affairs in the Cabinet and in the 
Senate of the United States. He had the pride, the spirit of 
initiative, the capacity in business, which qualify men for 
leadership, and lacked nothing of indomitable will and im- 
perious purpose to make his leadership effective. What he 
did lack was wisdom in dealing with men, willingness to take 
the judgment of others in critical matters of business, the 
instinct which recognizes ability in others and trusts it to the 



x FOREWORD 

utmost to play its independent part. He too much loved to 
rule, had too overweening a confidence in himself, and took 
leave to act as if he understood much better than those did 
who were in actual command what should be done in the 
field. He let prejudice and his own willful judgment dic- 
tate to him the removal of Joseph E. Johnston from the com- 
mand at Atlanta, the only man who could have made Sher- 
man's march to the sea impossible. He sought to control 
too many things with too feminine a jealousy of any rivalry 
in authority. But his spirit was the life of the Government. 
His too frequent mistakes were the result as much of the 
critical perplexities of an impossible task as of weakness of 
character. He moved direct, undaunted by any peril, and 
heartened a whole people to hold steadfast to the end." * 
The boy, and the author, was Woodrow Wilson. 

1 Woodrow Wilson, A History of tite American People, Vol. IV, pp. 310, 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Foreword ....... . ix 

CHAPTER 

I "The New Republic* I 

II A Migrant Heritage 7 

III Cadet and Officer 16 

IV The Scholar-Planter 34 

V Political Rise 46 

VI On the Road to Euena Vista 62 

VII In the Senate 78 

VIII The Secretary of War .... 95 

IX The Fateful Years, 1850- 1860 . . . .114 

X Change of Ca-pitals 128 

XI The President of the Confederacy . . . 145 

XII Four Years of War /. 1861-1863 . . .165 

XIII Four Years of War II. 1863-1865 ... 208 

XIV The Confederacy and England . . . .239 
XV The Confederacy and France . . . . .271 

XVI The End of an Idea 289 

XVII At the Long Last 305 

XVIII Epilogue 320 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Jefferson Davis. From the portrait in the War Department 

Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 

"The Briers." Where Jefferson Davis and Varina Howell 

were married, February 26th, 1845 42 

Davis, the Senator 80 

Facsimile of the notes of the speech at Faneuil Hall, October, 

1858 124 

The inauguration of Jefferson Davis at the capitol at Mont- 
gomery, February 18,1861 146 

Some cabinet members and commissioners of the Confederacy 161 

The statue of Washington at Richmond where Jefferson Davis 

delivered his inaugural address, February 22, 1862 . . 176 

The White House of the Confederacy at Richmond . . 228 

Facsimile of the Confederate publication in England . . 262 

Facsimile of letter of Benjamin to Slidell .... 280 

Prayer Book of Jefferson Davis 290 

Mr. Davis and his Cabinet crossing the Georgia ridges . . 300 



JEFFERSON DAVIS 
POLITICAL SOLDIER 



Chapter I "The New Republic" 

A LETTER had arrived at the French Foreign Office for His 
Excellency, M. Thouvenel, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
and the blue circle surrounding the date, February 28, indi- 
cated the time of its receipt. It was from M. Mercier, the 
French Minister at Washington, written February n, 1861, 
and it so chanced that it was the postscript that carried the 
matter of importance. 1 The telegraph, he writes, had just 
brought the news that Mr. Jefferson Davis had been chosen 
President of the Southern Confederacy, and Mr. Stephens 
Vice-President. This choice of Mr. Davis, M. Mercier tells 
His Excellency, supports fully all that he had said of the 
firm resolution of the seceding States to persevere in their 
course. There was annexed to the communication a news- 
paper clipping with the date line of Montgomery, Alabama, 
and from it could be learned that the Provisional Constitu- 
tion as adopted by the new Confederacy of the South differed 
but slightly from that of the United States. 

The Quai D'Orsay had now before it some rather confus- 
ing material in regard to matters in America. The seceding 
States had met in Montgomery and formed a Confederacy, 
adopted a provisional Constitution and chosen a President, 
while Abraham Lincoln, duly elected the November before, 
was to be inaugurated as President of the United States just 
five days after M. Thouvenel had received M. Mercier's 
letter. How would France meet this phenomenon across 
the sea? 

Another letter written a few days later by M. Mercier 



2 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

amplified the brief postscript. He now informed the French 
Foreign Office in more detail about this newly elected Presi- 
dent of the Confederacy. He was a man not unknown and in- 
experienced as was Mr. Lincoln. Quite the contrary, he was 
"un veritable homme d y Etat y " with a record such as would 
inspire just confidence. Mr. Davis had begun his military 
career in a brilliant manner. He had won distinction in the 
War with Mexico, and as an administrator of the office of 
Secretary of War under President Pierce he had shown him- 
self to be most able. In the Senate he had pleased when 
pitted against the most skilled and the most eloquent of the 
orators. In sum, his character was one of uncommon firm- 
ness joined to a personality at once gentle and distinguished. 
M. Mercier had given his Foreign Office a very agreeable 
portrait of the man who for four years was never quite to 
abandon the hope that France would recognize as an inde- 
pendent Government the political group that had chosen him 
to represent them as their President. 

As a matter of course, the French Foreign Office had been 
fully advised of matters in the United States through this 
fateful winter of 1860 and 3 6i; the seizure of the Federal 
forts by the State troops, the military preparations at Charles- 
ton, the departure of the Commissioners from South Caro- 
lina, their mission at Washington a complete failure, and so 
on. Each of these facts M. Mercier informs duly His Ex- 
cellency, M. Thouvenel. He tells him further that in gen- 
eral all the news from the South indicates the progress of 
the movement towards secession. 2 The Quai D'Orsay was 
thus prepared for the news in the dispatch of February n, 
1861. 

The complexities of European affairs at the moment were 
engaging the French Emperor's attention, but the word 



"THE NEW REPUBLIC" 3 

America had a distinct fascination for him. He could have 
recalled that scarcely more than a dozen years before, upon 
France becoming again a republic, the American Minister, 
Richard Rush, had been the first representative of a foreign 
Government to convey congratulations to the new Govern- 
ment 5 and that this action though taken against the advice 
of the British Ambassador, met the "full and unqualified 
approbation" of his President, James K. Polk. 3 

His interest in America was, in part, because he felt him- 
self possessed of a real knowledge of it. He was in the 
unique position of being a ruling European monarch who 
had actually seen America. Quite easily this dispatch to his 
Foreign Office would have been arresting. There had been 
that talk back in 1857 w ^^ Disraeli concerning Mexico. 
Mexico! But that was to come later. At the moment it 
would be necessary to wait and see what England would do, 
for France would not act alone. There was too that recently 
consummated Commercial Treaty with Great Britain which 
Cobden had achieved and which, most agreeably, had averted 
a war with England, but which, the Emperor was fully 
aware, had not been altogether acceptable to his subjects. 
Therefore, he could with wisdom wait to see how England 
would deal with these confused conditions in America. And 
it was because of this, that France would not act alone, that 
Jefferson Davis never heard the magic word recognition 
which, had it come, might have changed the ending to the 
story of the Confederacy. 

Across the Channel in Downing Street, Lord John Russell 
learned from Lord Lyons' dispatch from the British Lega- 
tion at Washington what the six seceding States assembled 
in convention at Montgomery had accomplished. Mr. Davis 



4 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

and Mr. Stephens were elected heads, so he wrote, of "the 
new republic." 4 He told Lord John Russell it seemed to be 
universally thought that the choice could not have fallen 
upon two more able men. The hope had been entertained 
that Mr. Davis might be disposed to enter into negotiation 
with the United States looking towards a reconstruction of 
the old Union, but the telegraphic report of a speech Mr. 
Davis made on his arrival at Montgomery certainly lessened 
that. If reported correctly, he thought the speech "far from 
moderate or indeed sensible." But to give Lord John Rus- 
sell its tone he copied with meticulous care an abstract from 
it. "The time for compromise is now passed, and the South 
is determined to maintain her position, and make all who 
oppose her smell Southern powder and feel Southern steel. 
Our separation from the old Union is now complete. No 
compromise, no reconstruction is now to be entertained." It 
was what, as time went on, was to be known as Jefferson Davis' 
credo. Four years of war did not change his view, nor the 
years that wore on to the end of his life. But Lord John 
Russell did not know that. He only knew that, according 
to Her Majesty's representative, there had been created a 
"new republic" 'within the United States because six States 
had seceded from the Union, with a duly elected Executive, 
and he had now to set about thinking how Government would 
deal with so involved a situation. He was shortly to be 
enlightened further about Mr. Davis' speeches. 

Ten days later the British Consul at Charleston, Robert 
Bunch, took pains to forward to Lord John Russell two copies 
of President Davis' Inaugural speech at Montgomery which, 
he said, with "the general moderation of its tone, has given 
great pleasure to the better classes of the community, who 
had looked for more violent language and sentiments from 



"THE NEW REPUBLIC" 5 

a person of Mr. Davis' impulsive character and advanced 
doctrines." 5 

Since Lincoln's election in November, Lord Lyons had 
been keeping the Foreign Office well informed of the slowly 
rising tide of secession which was at the full when he sent 
his report of the election of Mr. Davis at Montgomery. 
Less than a month before the receipt of this dispatch Lord 
John Russell had written Lord Lyons that doubtless "the 
break-up of the Union was inevitable," 6 following upon 
South Carolina's secession, and he hoped that force would 
not be used. Now the break-up had come. When would 
force be necessary? And in that event what would be Eng- 
land's attitude? 

The decision was reached six weeks later when Abraham 
Lincoln issued the call for seventy-five thousand troops and 
Jefferson Davis in proclamation invited applications for Let- 
ters of Marque, to be followed by Lincoln's reply with the 
Declaration of the Blockade. A Maritime War was in the 
making and England would police her commerce. During 
this interval English opinion was engaged in the difficult 
task of changing from its belief in the rightness of the 
Northern position, which harmonized with its own view in 
regard to slavery, to the undoubted importance of making 
the sea safe for cotton. 

So the question that had been raised upon the arrival of 
Lord Lyons' dispatch telling of "the new republic," was 
answered in the Queen's Proclamation of Neutrality of May 
13, in which it was asserted "certain States styling themselves 
the Confederate States of America" were to be regarded as 
belligerents, and Jefferson Davis was to have an early dis- 
appointment in that these States had failed of recognition as 
an independent nation by England. But this Proclamation, 



6 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

as well as the one issued by the Emperor a month later, was 
perhaps the main reason why after four years, in spite of 
varying conspicuous departures from their intent, recognition 
never came from either England or France. Had not the 
Atlantic cable been stilled after its effort to carry the burden 
of the- felicitations exchanged between the Queen and Presi- 
dent Buchanan, as well as upward of some four hundred 
other messages, upon its completion in 1858, the course of 
Anglo-American relations might not have suffered the sea 
change to which they were subjected during the "Second 
American Revolution/' and Jefferson Davis might not have 
waited in vain for the recognition of "the new republic" 
which Lord Lyons assured the Foreign Office had come into 
being. It was 1866 before this "Electric Cable" which the 
Queen had so earnestly hoped would "prove an additional 
link between the nations whose friendship is founded upon 
their common interest and reciprocal esteem" was again in 
operation 5 too late to serve the purposes of a war. Time is 
the element which plays so great a part in a revolution. 



Chapter II A Migrant Heritage 

JEFFERSON DAVIS came of simple people. His quarterings 
would have shown only families of artisans, workers in the 
soil, devout, God-fearing people, with that pluck of the 
pioneer that is called stout-hearted. They were from Wales, 
Scotland and Ireland, and came as so many of these emi- 
grants did to Philadelphia, the then outstanding port of entry 
of the United States. He thought highly of the Scotch-Irish 
strain his mother, Jane Cook, brought into the family. It 
was, he said, "a stock characterized by sturdy integrity, in- 
trepidity and intellectual rigor." He recalled that Presi- 
dents Monroe and Jackson had the same. Since then other 
Presidents could be added to that list. He was writing of 
Calhoun at the time, but it applied to his own ancestry, and 
he did not go on to say, as he so easily might have done, 
that the strain carried with it always the quality known by 
some as determination, and by more as obstinacy. It was to 
serve him in his hour of need. 

This Scotch-Irish mother, of South Carolina, "who had a 
graceful poetic mind, which, with much of her personal 
beauty, she retained to extreme old age," * Samuel Davis, 
the father, had met during his active service in Georgia at the 
time of the Revolutionary War, and after the war they were 
married. Beyond this there is very little known of her except 
that tradition has made her a niece of General Nathanael 
Greene. But to the end of her long life her son Jefferson 
gave her thei deferential care so characteristic of him. 

What Samuel Davis brought into the family was a stock 

7 



8 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

that never evaded military duty notwithstanding the Quaker 
background, and its representatives served their country or 
their State when occasion demanded. His service began 
when he joined Colonel Elijah Clark's company whose duty 
Was to carry provisions to the Army. He brought supplies to 
his half brothers, but his promise to his mother to return was 
only fulfilled at the end of the war. He raised a company 
of infantry and took part in the siege before Savannah. 
When he did come back it was to learn of her death and 
that the property had been wrecked. Beside his own mili- 
tary record three of his sons were in the War of 1 8 1 2. 2 But 
he did not live to see his youngest son, Jefferson, become a 
professional soldier. 

Samuel Davis was of Welsh descent. His forebears had 
been among those to receive grants from William Penn, 
which were located in what was known as "The Welsh 
Tract," some of the lands lying in Pencader Hundred in 
New Castle County, Delaware, and some in Cecil County, 
Maryland. 8 These settlers were from South Wales, typical 
immigrants as were the Scotch-Irish in that they were indus- 
trious artisans and farmers and very religious, who hoped to 
spread their Nonconformist faith abroad in the land. Leav- 
ing Philadelphia these migrants picked their way down 
the winding valleys that lie among the foothills, and then 
between the higher mountains, moving on like a tide into 
Virginia and the Carolinas where they formed colonies, and 
thus segregated their Fundamentalism. It was in Pencader 
Hundred that some of these groups founded "The Baptist 
Church Meeting Near the Iron Hill," and of this number 
were John and David Davis, "turners" by trade. John was 
Jefferson Davis 5 great-grandfather. Evan Davis was his 
son, who in time found his way to the Welsh Neck com- 



A MIGRANT HERITAGE 9 

munity in South Carolina, on the Pedee River, where as 
well he found his wife, a Mrs. Williams. At the birth of 
their son in 1756 they called him Samuel Emory Davis, for 
his mother gave him her maiden name. He was Jefferson 
Davis' father. The grandfather Evan was an active fron- 
tiersman who died near Washington, Georgia, and whose 
grave, by tradition, lies in an open cotton field. But nothing 
of it remains. 4 The stump of an old tree marks the site tra- 
dition fixes as the place in the old burying ground of the 
Davis family. David was the father of Samuel Davies, the 
distinguished Presbyterian minister, living near Richmond, 
and renowned throughout Virginia for his preaching. He 
later became the fourth President of the College of New 
Jersey, now Princeton University, and reckoned as one of his 
achievements the raising of funds, which he readily obtained 
in England and Scotland, for "the erection of the edifice 
known as Nassau Hall." 5 

This Samuel Davies, who so spelled his name then, and 
for whom Jefferson Davis 5 father was supposed to be named, 
and Jefferson Davis, were the two members of the family to 
reach national importance. 

The Scotch-Irish mother adapted herself, it appears, to 
the emigre instincts of her handsome husband. The mood 
of the time was migration, and the Davis family, like their 
forebears, were caught up in it. When Samuel Emory 
Davis and Jane Cook were married they first settled on a 
farm near Augusta, Georgia, on land which had been given 
him for his services in the war, and where a number of 
their children were born to them. Then rumor came of the 
Blue Grass country, and they wandered there that Samuel 
might raise blooded horses, which he knew something about, 
and take up .tobacco planting about which he knew less. 



io JEFFERSON DAVIS 

They chose the Green River country in the southwestern part 
of Kentucky, close to the Tennessee border, in Christian 
County, now in part Todd County, and had a farm of some 
six hundred acres. Here their son Jefferson, the youngest of 
ten children, was born June 3, 1 808, in a log cabin built on 
the site of what is now a part of the village of Fairview. It 
was what was known as a "double pen" log house. There 
were four rooms, two on each side of the hall, with puncheon 
floors. At either end were lath and clay chimneys. Later 
there were added to the front of the house two "shed rooms." 
"The doors were hung on wooden hinges and fastened with 
wooden buttons, and the logs were pegged together." 6 Less 
than eighty miles away another migrant family, the Lincolns, 
had built a similar cabin and their son Abraham was born 
there within the same twelvemonth. 

Samuel Davis was a Baptist, as were many of these fron- 
tier folk, and years later a Baptist church was built where his 
log house had stood. Now a great highway goes winding 
past it down the State and carries the name of his boy, Jef- 
ferson Davis. 

The mood of migration or economic pressure was on them 
again, and this time they followed the trail to the Southwest, 
and settled in Bayou Teche Parish in Louisiana. But the wet 
heat of the lowlands soon caused them to move on into Mis- 
sissippi, at Woodville, in Wilkinson County, and there the 
family fortunes came to rest. 

Woodville was a court town in later years where, when 
the court was in session, the gentlemen wore black coats 
and black cravats and embroidered silk or satin waistcoats, 
and administered justice above the perfume they used. Here 
the Davis family lived simply and unpretentiously, with but 
few slaves, and no overseer in this quiet Mississippi home. 



A MIGRANT HERITAGE n 

And here for many years after Samuel Davis 5 death, Jef- 
ferson's mother lived. 

The place never reached the proportions of a plantation. 
It was a cotton f arm, and there Jefferson Davis picked cotton 
sometimes as a discipline. One day at school he had been 
told to memorize some passage. When he failed to do it 
there was threatened punishment and he took his books to his 
father and told him the case. He was through with school. 
Samuel Davis chose a wise course. "Of course," he said, "it 
is for you to elect whether you will work with head or hands 5 
my son could not be an idler. I want more cotton pickers 
and will give you work. 53 7 For two days Jefferson worked 
in the fields, then school seemed to him the "lesser evil" and 
he went back, but not before his father had had something to 
say about labor as a vocation presenting disadvantages to 
those not bred to it. But what had really happened was that 
Samuel Davis had put the first stepping stone in place for his 
son to become the scholar-planter. Jefferson fished and 
hunted and had his dogs and learned the ways of the crea- 
tures of the swamps and bayous. Chicken fighting also was 
an amusement till it was found out by his parents and 
stopped. 

Jefferson Davis always thought of his father as a man of 
great physical activity, whose opinions were law to his chil- 
dren. 8 He had pride too in that he had inherited his political 
principles from his father. In a speech in the Senate in later 
years he spoke of him as one of Mr. Jefferson's "earnest 
friends." 9 A fact which may explain the name given to 
their youngest son by Samuel and Jane Davis. It was a 
departure from their custom of using only Biblical names. 
There is a record of "T. J. Davis" and those who find interest 
in parallels like to point out that the T. was dropped in his 



J2 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

case as was the Thomas in Woodrow Wilson's name. As a 
boy in Kentucky he was called "Little Jeff." 

But he was rather pitifully conscious of his limitations, this 
father of Jefferson Davis. Samuel Davis declared that lack 
of knowledge, which was "power," had brought "misery and 
mischief" to him in his old age. "Use every possible means 
to acquire useful knowledge," he wrote Jefferson. Cer- 
tainly he tried to give his son the best education his means 
and opportunity permitted. He began by sending Jefferson, 
when he was seven years old, away to school without letting 
his wife know anything about it, doubtless in the frontier 
manner. It was a plan to appeal to any boy. There was to 
be a journey of a thousand miles, on horseback, with pack 
mules to carry the camp equipment, and in company with 
another boy of his own years, under the care of a distin- 
guished officer of dragoons, the gallant Major Hinds, with 
a recent military record at New Orleans. It lay through 
lands and swamps where cypresses point the way, called The 
Wilderness, and where, more often than not, the stars were 
the cover for the night's rest. Better this than the poor inns 
or the Indian "stands." 

The journey brought them to Nashville, Tennessee, and 
here the boy Davis saw his first military hero, for Major 
Hinds wanted to pay his respects to his superior officer, 
General Jackson, and the party went to The Hermitage. 
Two of Davis' older brothers had served with the General at 
New Orleans and had been commended by him. Davis 
always remembered the roomy log house, with the surround- 
ing grain and cotton fields, but more the unaffected and well- 
bred courtesy of the host. 

The year before Jefferson Davis had gone to his first 
school in the neighborhood the log cabin variety of song 



A MIGRANT HERITAGE 13 

and story. But this one was different altogether. Near 
Springfield, at Bardstown, Kentucky, was a Catholic school 
connected with the church of St. Thomas Aquinas, and under 
the direction of Dominican priests. The Protestants at this 
time were engaged in the bickerings of the different sects 
and the education of the children was of less moment than 
composing their religious quarrels. The schoolhouse in 
these regions had yet to be pointed to as the symbol of Amer- 
ican life. The Catholic communities had been far more pro- 
gressive and their schools were in the hands of men of educa- 
tion. Here his father determined to place the boy. There 
were wide fields rich in their yield and flocks and herds and 
'slaves for the labor of this great property. Here he heard 
! the rhythm of the routine in the daily offices of this Church 
school, and the precision of the Latin. Perhaps it helped to 
create that sonorous quality of his speech, which it became 
* later, in his public life, a commonplace to praise. The cer- 
tain restraint in statement which characterized his speeches 
may also have had its origin with these early teachers, three 
of whom were Englishmen. 10 The tuition fee was one hun- 
dred dollars, and in Jefferson Davis' case it was paid by 
one Charles Green, of Bardstown, who is spoken of as his 
guardian. He always remembered the kindly care of the 
priests he was the smallest child in the school and they were 
patient with him and helpful. 

Two years went by. Then he came home. His mother, 
who had been kept in ignorance of his going away, now in- 
sisted upon his coming back. The return j ourney, made with 
his guardian, was in the nature of an adventure, too, for by 
1817 steamboats were on that, part of the Mississippi, and 
the romance of the river had taken a new form. These wood- 
burning vessels, belching sparks with the forcing of the fires, 



I4 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

were fitly named for volcanoes Mtna y Vesuvius, and so on. 
The boy remembered that there was such thrill and novelty 
about these strange carriers that parties would be made up to 
go on the river for a short distance, boarding the boat at one 
landing and leaving it perhaps at the next, where they would 
be met by carriages and be driven back to their plantations. 

Jefferson Davis found the "voyage was slow and unevent- 
ful"} 1X but he was only nine years old and impatient to be 
home again. "I remember wondering why my father should 
have kissed so big a boy," he said when he recalled his home- 
coming and meeting his father unexpectedly in the garden. 

Hereafter there were somewhat diversified educational 
experiences. There was a short stay at Jefferson College, so 
called, in Adams County, Mississippi, and then a return home 
to attend the new Wilkinson County Academy, which had 
an excellent head master, John A. Shaw, of Boston, who later 
was to become the Superintendent of Public Schools in New 
Orleans. He was the first of his type to come to that part 
of the South and to place the teaching profession on a new 
level} creating in fact the notion that it was a profession, and 
not an auxiliary to preaching. Davis says of him: "I am sure 
he taught me more in the time I was with him than I ever 
learned from any one else." 12 

In his fourteenth year he was sent back to his native State, 
Kentucky, at Lexington, to Transylvania University, "the 
Southern Harvard," with a reputation placing it in the first 
class of educational institutions. Transylvania University 
suffered in the minds of some of the Kentuckians because of 
two things, that it was under the control of the Presbyterians, 
and was tinctured with Federalism. As it had its grants from 
the State Legislature the control of the Presbyterians was 



A MIGRANT HERITAGE 15 

forced out by law, and a Unitarian of Connecticut and grad- 
uate of Yale, Dr. Holley, became its head. 

There was a liberalism here that was in time to disturb 
the outsiders, and cause a desire to return to the stricter ways, 
but Jefferson Davis had the benefit of the "Holley Era." 

"There I completed my studies in Greek and Latin, and 
learned a little of algebra, geometry, trigonometry [this 
was doing very well for there had been the need of a tutor in 
mathematics], surveying, profane and sacred history, and 
natural philosophy." 13 He confesses to taking an honor in 
his senior year, and some of his friends, who were with him 
at Transylvania, years afterwards wrote Mrs. Davis that he 
was considered the "first scholar." The records of the Uni- 
versity were all destroyed, but the estimate may rest with his 
friends. Some of these Transylvania students he was to see 
again in Congress and the Senate. "When I was serving my 
first term as United States Senator," he wrote, "I was one 
of six graduates . . . who held seats in that chamber." 
Henry Clay's son whom he knew here at Lexington was with 
him at West Point and with him too at Buena Vista, where 
Davis made a military record, and Clay lost his life. 

He had been sufficiently mischievous to lift him out of the 
prig class. But he cared little for the sports of the school. 
Sports seems to have meant football. "Perhaps he did not 
choose to lose his time from his studies," one fellow student 
and admirer suggests. But he was manly, had a fine appear- 
ance then, and carried himself well. This was the Jefferson 
Davis of 1824 when in July of that year his father died, 
and his brother Joseph began to take care of him and to look 
out for his interests. 



Chapter III Cadet and Officer 

I. WEST POINT 

IT was this brother Joseph who believed Jefferson, at seven- 
teen, to be too young to be graduated. There must be more 
training, more discipline. Jefferson's own wish lay in the 
direction of the University of Virginia, whose reputation was 
beginning to extend down to, and beyond, the Delta, though 
many were yet to see its unique beauty. He had been named 
for the President of the United States, who chanced to be 
the founder of this university. Perhaps he had a boyish wish 
to go to Charlottesville because of that. But the plan turned 
out quite differently. Through one of the Congressmen of 
the lower Mississippi, due in part, no doubt, to his brother's 
influence, he received an appointment to West Point from 
President Monroe. 1 Joseph was the oldest of this family of 
ten children as Jefferson was the youngest, and there were 
twenty-four years between their ages. "He occupied to me," 
said Jefferson, "much the relation of a parent." 

There was the visit his brother made him while at West 
Point and when he brought with him his friends from 
Natchez, Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Howell. Mrs. Howell 
remembered "his beautiful eyes" and wrote in a letter of 
his "open, bright expression." Mr. Howell thought him "a 
promising youth." And both twenty years later thought of 
him as their son-in-law. But the day of the visit Jefferson 
was engrossed with this brother, and wanted only to sit by 
him, and slip his hand through his brother's arm. 2 

16 



CADET AND OFFICER 17 

When the restless mood of the period carried the family 
to Mississippi, Joseph had been left behind in Hopkinsville, 
Kentucky, to go on with his law studies. Later he had moved 
to Warren County in Mississippi where he had become a man 
of fortune. He had practiced law for many years but had 
found leisure as well to build up a greater wealth as a suc- 
cessful planter. He was a man of consequence, and became 
one of the millionaires of the Southwest. 

The dream plan of the University of Virginia Jefferson 
gave up somewhat conditional^ that is, he would go to West 
Point for one year. He made acknowledgment of his ap- 
pointment to the Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun, in a 
very characteristic letter. 8 Its naivete must have come back 
to him if, when Secretary of War, he himself received any 
such a communication: 

Lexington, July 7th, 1824 
Transylvania Univer [sic] 
Sir, 

The commission of Cadet granted the undersigned March 
nth, and remitted to Natchez, on account of my absence was 
forwarded here. I accept it. Am not able to go on before 
Sept. for reasons I will explain to the superintendent on my 
arrival. 

Yours &c 

JEFFERSON DAVIS 

J. C. Calhoun 

In August he wrote his sister-in-law from Lexington, 
where he was staying: "I leave in a short time for West 
Point, State of New York, where it will always give me 
pleasure to hear from you." 

Agaia a long journey was to be made and it was Sep- 
tember when he entered the United States Military Academy 



1 8 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

as a cadet and began the first of a series of connections 
with the institution. Twice again he had intimate contact 
with the Academy: the years between 1853-57, when he 
was Secretary of War in President Piercers Cabinet ; and the 
more eventful year of 1 860-61, when, as United States Sen- 
ator, he headed a Commission appointed by the President to 
examine into the needs of its reorganization. But no such 
thoughts were in his mind that day he wrote his sister-in-law. 
Rather, they must have been that this new experience was 
to be for only a year's duration, and that .then there would 
be the years near Monticello. But the year extended to four, 
"f or various reasons," Davis says, without naming them, and 
in 1828 he received his commission as Second Lieutenant of 
Infantry. 

There were few buildings at the Point when Jefferson 
Davis entered the Academy, and. the cadets were quartered 
by companies and not by classes. His room for two years was 
No. 19 in the South Barracks, and he shared it with two 
other cadets. In the last two years his quarters were in the 
North Barracks, where the rooms Were larger, and a thin 
partition made a bedroom and study. But there was no 
betterment of furniture. Three muskets and accoutrements 
were kept on a rack over the fireplace, and by the side 
of the open fire were the -shelves for their books. The rest 
of the furniture was one small table and three chairs and 
these the cadets supplied themselves. They were early 
taught camp discomfort, for mattresses spread on the floor 
at night were their beds, and all water for bathing and drink- 
ing had to be brought from, the spring. There was little 
amusement. A Saturday half holiday gave a chance for 
skating in winter, and hiking through the woods in summer, 
when the Corps was in camp on the plain. But the beginning 



CADET AND OFFICER 19 

and end of amusement lay in following the route to Benny 
Havens'. Here rations might be supplemented, but it be- 
came almost immediately "out of bounds" and always re- 
mained so. And Benny Havens nearly cost Jefferson Davis 
his commission as an officer in the United States Army. 

From the $16 per month pay and the two rations, in value 
equal to $28, the cadets were expected to pay all their ex- 
penses, since there was a regulation prohibiting their receiv- 
ing spending money from home. Out of this small allow- 
ance Davis always managed to send some to his mother. It 
was part of the devotion he gave her. She sent it back once 
or twice. But that hurt his sensitive pride. He was better 
pleased when she kept it. 

The Roll of Cadets, arranged according to merit in con- 
duct, for the year ending June 30, i828, 4 showed that Jef- 
ferson Davis in his year of graduation had 137 demerits, and 
that his standing put him in the lower half of a class of 
thirty-four. He was No. 23. There was a cadet in the 
second class that same year who had no demerits. His name 
was Robert E. Lee. Joseph E. Johnston was also in that 
class with nine demerits. 

Davis never had a high standing through any of the four 
years. It was the friendships made in course that were to be 
rated higher than academic standing. There were those with 
Leonidas Polk, and Albert Sidney Johnston, certainly men 
whose friendships could not be measured by any system of 
counting. 

Mathematics, as at Transylvania, was a difficult subject for 
him, but there was an Acting Assistant Professor of Mathe- 
matics, Denis H. Mahan, who aided him in his study and 
with whom he formed a warm friendship. Under the regu- 
lations at that time, the Superintendent of the Academy was 



20 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

authorized to detail not exceeding four cadets to discharge 
the duty of Acting Assistant Professors of Mathematics, and 
the appointment was considered "an honorable distinction." 8 
A greater distinction for this young professor, perhaps so far 
as history is concerned, lies in the fact that he had a son who 
became Rear-Admiral Alfred T. Mahan. At all events he 
seems to have helped Davis through the maze of mathe- 
matics. Some of the textbooks were those in use at the 
Ecole Polytechnique, and had been brought by Claude 
Crozet, one of Napoleon's officers, who was teaching at West 
Point a few years before Jefferson Davis entered as a cadet, 
and whose successor and disciple, Charles Davies, was the 
professor of mathematics in Davis' time. 

Many French textbooks were in use at the Academy at this 
period, and a course in the French language was obligatory, 6 
Translations from English into French, and from French 
into English, were to be made "with accuracy," but of pro- 
nunciation it was only asked that it should be done "toler- 
ably. 7 ' Many years later, when Mr. Davis visited Paris, a 
French journalist was critical of his use of French. Doubt- 
less he had not bettered the Academy requirements. At the 
time when, as Secretary of War, he tried the experiment of 
bringing out a train of camels to Texas to use for transporta- 
tion purposes through the desert stretches to the Pacific 
Coast, he had prepared for it by translating, from the 
French, a book on the uses to which camels could be put. 7 

Under one instructor, the Chaplain, he studied grammar, 
rhetoric, ethics and constitutional law; and these subjects 
caught his attention and interest and he stood higher in 
them than any others during the four years. He was not an 
outstanding student in any one department, but he gained a 
certain taste of reading which made a real contribution to his 



CADET AND OFFICER 21 

development in those formative years when he was at his 
plantation, Brierfield. He took his reading as an accom- 
plishment, one of many he had. He came to be the scholar- 
planter. 

On graduation he took the oath which from 1 802 down to 
1 86 1 was required of the cadets, as- prescribed by the Act of 
March 16, 1802: 

I, , do solemnly swear, that I will 

bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of Amer- 
ica, and that I will serve them, honestly and faithfully, 
against all their enemies or opposers whatsoever ; and that 
I will observe and obey the orders of the President of the 
United States, and the orders of the officers appointed over 
me, according to the Rules and Articles of War. 8 

It was not until August, 1861, that an oath was substi- 
tuted which was specific in defining the requirements "to 
maintain and defend the sovereignty of the United States 
paramount to any and all allegiance, sovereignty or fealty I 
may owe to any State, county, or country whatsoever." 

It is customary to assign Davis' consistent attitude toward 
State Sovereignty under the Constitution to the book by 
Rawle A View of the Constitution of the United States 
which Calhoun as Secretary of War ordered to be a textbook 
at West Point, and which was so used down to 1861. The 
book was published IA 1825, the year Calhoun became Vice- 
President of the United Stages. He had just finished his 
service of eight years as Secretary of War under President 
Monroe. The Academy had received his special attention 
and he had much to do with its reorganization and bringing 
it up to a high standard, just as did Davis the man "with the 
chin like Calhoun's," many years later. But the book, if des- 
ignated by him as a textbook and ordered for use at the Acad- 



22 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

emy, must have been published within the first three months 
of the year 1825. That it was a textbook later appears cer- 
tain. If it were in use in Davis' time, he was being taught: 

If a faction should attempt to subvert the Government of 
a State for the purpose of destroying its republican form, the 
national power of the Union could be called forth to subdue 
it. Yet it is not to be understood that its interposition would 
be justifiable if a State should determine to retire from the 
Union. It depends upon the State itself whether it will con- 
tinue a member of the Union. 

Yet one Superintendent certainly thought there to be "no 
reason to suppose that it ever was prescribed for the classes." 
Calhoun*s doctrine had other ways of impressing itself, and 
the Nullification Ordinance of South Carolina was seven 
years away. 

Jefferson Davis was court-martialed and nearly expelled 
from West Point. He had been in several cadet rows. In 
one fracas which ended in the dismissing of his roommate 
he was involved as well. But following the tradition of the 
Corps, Davis refused to give any explanations. This re- 
sulted in long confinement, but longer commendation from 
the cadets. His record, however, had been sufficiently good, 
notwithstanding the charge against him of going to Benny 
Havens', and the authorities gave him another chance, 

As a cadet he was well liked in the Corps, and a classmate 
remembered that "his figure was very soldier-like and rather 
robust, his step springy, resembling the tread of an Indian 
brave on the war path." 10 

West Point was a dominating force in Davis' life. He 
had it under his care as Secretary of War, and its reorganiza- 
tion in i860 was made through the Commission of which he, 
a member of the Military Committee of the Senate, was 



CADET AND OFFICER 23 

President. 11 In the bitterness of the time, during and after 
the war, it was charged against Mr. Davis that, in the two 
years before the war, he had tried to undermine the loyalty 
at the Point and direct the interest of the cadets toward the 
Southern position. It was, so it was said, for that purpose 
that he secured the appointment as head of the Commission. 12 

This Commission was a carefully selected one comprising 
the Hon. Solomon Foote, of the Senate, and the Hon. Henry 
Winter Davis, of the House of Representatives. And the 
Army was represented, oddly enough, by Major Robert 
Anderson and Captain A. A. Humphreys. The Commission 
heard testimony from many distinguished officers and grad- 
uates, including former Superintendents of the Academy, 
one of whom was Colonel R. E. Lee. And the report as 
finally completed made, among others, the recommendation 
to extend the course of study to five years 5 that there should 
be no reduction in the scientific or mathematical subjects no 
reduction, in short, of standard at the moment "when many 
of the great States of Europe were endeavoring to raise it"j 
but most pertinently of all, it declared, "demerit marks are 
not, in any sense, a punishment but merely a record of con- 
duct." Doubtless, this was a gratification to the President 
of the Commission if he recalled his 137! 

In a little more than a year's time, Jefferson Davis, 
President, not of the Commission, but of the Confederate 
States, was explaining to William Henry Russell, the war 
correspondent of the London Times, that "perhaps we are 
the only people in the world where gentlemen go to a mili- 
tary academy who do not intend to follow the profession of 
arms." 18 

His interest in the Academy always remained. He took 
away with him from the Point a certain discipline of mind 



24 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

which, added to his natural aloofness, made him forbidding 
and difficult of approach when he became the Commander-in- 
Chief of the Confederate Army. 

It was said of him that his preference for officers was 
always the West Pointers j that he neglected civilians with 
military ambitions, whose appointment would have made 
for better feeling, to give the place to the trained officer. It 
was a problem singularly acute in the South where regiments 
were raised and equipped and offered for service, and the 
officers chosen by the regiment. It was a problem as old as 
war itself. It will be a problem as long as war shall last. 

When as an old man he had begun the dictation of his 
Memoirs, after a few brief statements concerning his life and 
his friends there, he added, "I shall tell a great deal of West 
Point, and I seem to remember more every day." But he 
carried those memories away with him. 



H. THE ARMY 

Six brief years spanned the active army life of Lieutenant 
Davis except for his service in the Mexican War. Yet there 
persisted a legend about him to the end of his life that sol- 
diering had been his major interest. Politically, it proved a 
help to him. These six years for the most part were spent 
in the coveted frontier service, where an Indian war was 
to be had for the asking. Forts and barracks had to be built 
and repaired, and so lumbering became part of an army 
officer's duty. Jefferson Davis was said to be the first lum- 
berman in Missouri. Details changed rapidly as need re- 
quired, and within a year he had been ordered from Jeffer- 
son Barracks at St. Louis, his first post after graduation, to 



CADET AND OFFICER 25 

Fort Crawford, built on the site of the present Prairie 
du Chien. 

In the summer of 1829 he was sent on detached service 
with a file of soldiers, and these were the first white men, so 
Davis told an historian, to go over the country between the 
portage of the Wisconsin and Fox Rivers to a village called 
Chicago. It was a pleasant detail for summer, with deer and 
pheasants and wild fowl in abundance for subsistence. There 
were two years, from 1829 to 1831, when he was stationed at 
Fort Winnebago and he believed that the garrison there were 
ignorant of the Four Lakes, until he saw them. At these 
different outposts of the Army Davis found sometimes his 
friends of West Point as well as those from Transylvania. 
Any detail was sure to bring friends together. There were 
Albert S. Johnston, Thomas F. Drayton and now others 
here at Winnebago. John Jacob Astor's trading posts lay 
along through this country, and the Indians moved in and 
out, for the most part upon peaceful business. 

The work of lumbering was another detail along the Red 
Cedar River. The wood was needed in the construction work 
for the buildings at Fort Crawford, and Davis had his men 
here through the early part of 1829. He learned at first 
hand frontier lumber exactions, even to rafting the logs and 
getting them to the Mississippi where they drifted their way 
down to Prairie du Chien. Two years later he was sent up 
the Yellow River on similar detail, but with the added 
responsibility of building a sawmill for the Government. It 
was work well done, but a greater skill was shown in his 
ability to make friends with the Indians who were near and 
were never without thought of raids upon the white man's 
camp. The friendship they gave him took the Indian form 



26 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

of his initiation into the brotherhood of one of the tribes by 
a chief, and from then on he was called "Little Chief." The 
boy who had made the long journey through the wilder- 
ness, on his way to school, who knew the ways of bog and 
wood, and nights in the open, and had the love of the land in 
his blood, found his own way to deal with and satisfy these 
age-long denizens of the land. 

What he didn't know were the frost and cold of these 
northern forests, and his life was nearly gone with pneu- 
monia in "the winter of the deep snow," as this year was 
always to be known in the Northwest. It is a cold of its 
own up through this North country, and the exposure the 
contrast to the warmth and glow of his Southland where he 
had spent more than half of his twenty years ended in the 
sharp illness. It was thought that much of his ill health that 
he always had thereafter could be traced to the long months 
of weakness that followed this sickness. The strain under 
such living told lastingly on a nervous system peculiarly 
sensitive. To the end of his life Davis was always something 
of a hypochondriac. He probably owed his life to the care 
of his body servant, James Pemberton, who had come with 
him from "The Hurricane," his brother's plantation, when 
he left there after his furlough following graduation from 
West Point. This young negro slave had been with Davis 
since both were boys, and it was James Pemberton who was 
left in charge of Brierfield when his master took the Missis- 
sippi Rifles to Mexico. 

The years at Fort Winnebago were soon gone and he was 
back at Fort Crawford and reporting to a new commanding 
officer, Colonel Zachary Taylor. It was the beginning of a 
connection that reached far on the long arm of consequence. 
Colonel Taylor ordered his young lieutenant to Galena, in 



CADET AND OFFICER 27 

Illinois, where the miners had come to work the newly dis- 
covered lead ore deposits. It was the old story of making 
agreements with the Indians, whose claim to the land no one 
except the miners could deny, and it was the business of the 
Army to safeguard life and property till the treaty with the 
Indians was made. These men who had come to work the 
mines were typical land adventurers who moved on from 
place to place, wherever the end of the rainbow beckoned. 
For the moment Galena offered the end and they were ready 
to fight for their squatter claims. The Indians in the locality 
were equally ready to prevent the occupation. The treaty 
which had been made with the Government and signed at 
Prairie du Chien ceded all lands belonging to the Sauks 
and Foxes east of the Mississippi, and the whole area was to 
be opened at once to the settlers. The Government was 
seeking an adjustment through treaty, and it was on this 
business that Lieutenant Davis was sent with his detachment 
of soldiers. He succeeded in winning the confidence of both 
Indians and miners, and thereby secured a truce. The miners 
were to file their claims, and wait the treaty compensation 
the Government would make to the Indians for giving up 
the lands, after which they might return to their squatter 
holdings. 

Black Hawk, the old Chief of the Sauks and Foxes, 
thought little of the arrangement when completed at Wash- 
ington. The payment was small he had received some sixty 
thousand bushels of corn and what also remained in his 
mind was the steady if slow urge of the Government that had 
driven him and his tribe across the Mississippi and the taking 
of his old lands and those of his fathers from him. He 
treated the matter, in short, as a scrap of paper. The Black 
Hawk War was to come out of some of the outrages the old 



28 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

chief and his tribe committed on the white people, and be- 
cause of as many the white people practiced upon them. 
There were those who thought another ration of corn under- 
lay the purpose. 14 But Black Hawk and his men were soon 
on the war-path and a reign of terror began along the Rock 
River. The uprising led to the calling out of the Illinois 
militia, and a young, awkward, uncouth lad answered with 
the rest. He gave his name as Abraham Lincoln and he was 
sworn in by young Lieutenant Robert Anderson, 15 who was 
many years later to act under the orders of this raw recruit, 
then become Commander-in-Chief of the United States 
forces. And this brief enlistment with the Illinois militia, a 
part of which he served in Captain J. M. Early's company, 
was the sole active military experience of Abraham Lincoln. 

This frontier war ended in the defeat of the Indians at a 
battle called Bad Axe, not far from the Mississippi River. 
But Black Hawk was not captured until Lieutenant Davis and 
his men, who had been sent by Colonel Taylor from Fort 
Crawford to an island up the river, found him under a flag 
of truce, with some friendly Winnebagoes who surrendered 
the old Chief to the young Lieutenant. Black Hawk left a 
record of his impression of the young officer who was detailed 
to take him and the other prisoners down to Jefferson Bar- 
racks at St. Louis. 

"We started to Jefferson Barracks in a steamboat, under 
the charge of a young war chief [Lieutenant Davis] who 
treated us all with much kindness. He is a good and brave 
young chief, with whose conduct I was much pleased." 18 

The way of the service in the next two years took Davis 
to Kentucky at Lexington on recruiting service and later to 
Galena, his old duty, and finally to the distant frontier at 
Fort Gibson in Arkansas. He had been promoted to First 



CADET AND OFFICER 29 

Lieutenant in a new regiment of dragoons, and on his return 
from Kentucky was made adjutant of the regiment. He had 
shown himself capable in detail and able to handle his men. 
It was in these years at Fort Crawford that he met and 
fell in love with his Colonel's daughter, Sarah Knox Taylor. 
She was a girl of eighteen when he first saw her, graceful, 
rather small and dark, with wavy brown hair and hazel eyes, 
and danced well, so well indeed she was said to be one of the 
best dancers in Kentucky. He called her "Knox 35 after Gen- 
eral Washington's Secretary of War. Romance and fiction 
have long overlain the realities of their marriage. That 
the Colonel refused his consent to the marriage seems cer- 
tain. Upon what grounds is uncertain. The command- 
ing officer had means to halt the courtship, and he sent his 
young adjutant to the distant Arkansas post at Fort Gibson. 
The young officer had means of countering this, and he 
resigned from the Army a year and a half later and his mar- 
riage took place shortly after. Various reasons are assigned 
to Davis' decision to leave the Army. To suit romance, it 
would be this distant post to which he had been sent by his 
would-be father-in-law that determined him to be free to 
marry his Colonel's daughter. Another and more likely one 
is that his health had been undermined in the long illness 
resulting from the bitter cold of the North country. He 
may have felt that he had had all the soldier life was 
likely to offer: the frontier duty, an Indian war. The Ore- 
gon irritations were of a later date, and war with Great 
Britain was unlikely at that time. It may have been just 
the nostalgia for the river's ways down on his brother 
Joseph's plantation. It is possible that his brother was 
responsible and wanted Jefferson to be a successful planter as 
he had become. It was this brother who more than any one 



30 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

else influenced him. Whatever the cause, it was a short army 
duty, this six years. But it was to affect his whole life and 
be the background, together with his service in Mexico, to 
enforce his claim to military experience and therefore entitle 
him to be heard in military decisions in the Confederate 
Army. "By education, by association, by preference, I was 
a soldier," he wrote. Many years later, in 1850, in fact, in 
a speech on the Compromise of that year, he recalled how 
certain his duty would have been as an officer had his regi- 
ment been ordered, as the rumor then was it would be, to 
Charleston to enforce Federal law over the South Carolina 
Nullification Ordinance, "Much as I valued my commission," 
he said, "much as I desired to remain in the Army, and dis- 
approving as much as I did the remedy resorted to, that com- 
mission would have been torn to tatters before it would have 
been used in civil war with the State of South Carolina." 17 

It was, of course, as a speech, made for political effect to 
show how stout was his feeling on State; Sovereignty. Three 
years later he was Secretary of War of the United States, and 
in that capacity handing to the cadets at; West Point upon 
their graduation their commissions as officers in the United 
States Army. But in giving the diplomas the Secretary was 
not obliged to state the reservations in his own mind which 
he must have attached to these commissions. He had made 
dear his position in his Compromise Speech. 

There seems to be no reliable evidence for Colonel Tay- 
lor's sudden dislike of the younger man. Both were capable 
of strong dislikes, and with the advancing success of the 
younger officer some of the West Point aloofness may not 
have been acceptable to the man who won the title "Old 
Rough and Ready." It was often said that when Davis 
disliked he could be very disagreeable. 18 But both men were 



CADET AND OFFICER 31 

soldiers and in the after years neither denied to the other 
all possible credit. But Colonel Taylor preferred Lieutenant 
Davis as an officer to a son-in-law. 

Shortly after Davis was ordered to Fort Gibson, Miss 
Taylor went to Kentucky, near Lexington, and lived with 
her aunt, and it was in her house at Beechland, in the early 
summer of 1835, that Jefferson Davis and Sarah Knox Tay- 
lor were married. The bride wore her traveling gown and 
a small hat that matched it. The bridegroom was dressed 
more elaborately with "a long-tail cutaway coat, brocaded 
waistcoat, breeches tight-fitting and held under the instep 
with a strap, and a high stove-pipe hat." 19 He seems to 
have been conspicuous otherwise by the fact that he was the 
only person present who did not cry at the ceremony. 

They went by boat down the rivers, the Ohio and the 
Mississippi, to "The Hurricane," his brother Joseph's 
plantation, and here they stayed till their own place was 
ready for them. Joseph Davis had given his brother a 
thousand acres of the land lying next his plantation. He 
regarded it as an offset to the negroes his father had given 
him. The young army officer began the life of a planter, 
and went about the business of it with the directness of the 
man used to command. He had bought fourteen negro 
slaves, his brother Joseph loaned him the money for the pur- 
chase, and the work of clearing away the tangled fields of old 
canebrake and brier went on. A house was built, to be known 
as "The Brierfield." In the years to come it was to mean 
romance and tragedy and defeat. 

Within a year his wife had died of malarial fever. They 
had gone down to his sister's place, near Bayou Sara in 
Louisiana, as being more healthful than Brierfield when the 
"fever season" was on. But they had lingered too long, and 



32 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

both were taken ill when they reached the plantation. His 
own life flickered in the 'rise and fall of the fever's course 
and he had not been told how ill she was. Then there was 
one day when he heard her in the delirium of fever singing a 
favorite air, "Fairy Bells," and he tried to go to hen But 
she had died with the song unfinished. A lonely grave in 
Feliciana Parish marks the end of this short romance of 
Jefferson Davis. The shock of his young wif e*s death made 
his own recovery very slow. When he was able to be moved 
and came back to "The Hurricane" he was still so prostrated 
that it was thought best he should try a winter in Cuba, 
and later in October he took a sailing ship for Havana, a 
three weeks 5 sail. 

Wherever he went, the tall, athletic figure, with its West 
Point erectness, attracted attention. He was always the sol- 
dier. When he was seen near the fortifications in Havana, 
where he had gone to sketch, his military appearance sug- 
gested that he might be a spy, and he was warned away. He 
was told that if he were seen making plans of the fortifica- 
tions or watching the drill he would be taken prisoner. He 
would then have to do chain-gang work and break stones. It 
was made very explicit. He soon realized he was under 
surveillance. Yet the time was to come when he was to be 
asked to lead an expedition to liberate Cuba. 20 It was after 
he had come back from the Mexican War with a military 
reputation. He thought it inconsistent with his duty, as did 
young Major Robert E. Lee, who was also approached. 

All this espionage soon became very wearisome and he left 
for New York and Washington. Hera he made the acquain- 
tance of Franklin Pierce, who at that time had attracted no 
especial attention in Congress, but who was an agreeable 
member of the "Congressional Mess" which Davis had been 



CADET AND OFFICER 33 

asked to join during his stay at the Capital. These two men 
had similar tastes. Both were rather dandified about their 
dress and carried it off with a certain air of distinction, and a 
courtesy that was marked enough to be commented on. They 
became friends. Nearly twenty years later Pierce called 
Davis away from the peaceful ways of Brierfield to enter his 
Cabinet. 

"Davis lingered in Washington into the spring and then 
went back to Mississippi, refreshed in mind and body, and 
began again a planter's life. He was not to leave Brierfield 
for eight years, and they were, as it turned out, the really 
formative years of his life. 



Chapter IV The Scholar-Planter 

THEY called it the Davis Bend, this stretch of land that 
makes out into the river some thirty-six miles below Vicks- 
burg, where the two fine plantations of the brothers were. 
"The Hurricane," which belonged to Joseph Davis, was a 
plantation brought to a high perfection, and was known as 
such in the Southwest river country. The house was a large 
three story one with "high, pointed dormers" and wide gal- 
leries surrounding it on each floor, the lowest one of brick 
such as are found in so many of the Southern houses. It was 
shaded by magnificent oaks that went on acre after acre. 
Close to the main house was the annex with its great dining 
room and music room where the young people danced, as 
young Varina Howell was to know when she came on a visit 
to "The Hurricane" and went away engaged to Jefferson 
Davis. The rose garden at the back of the house soon lost 
itself in orchards of peach, fig and apple trees, and near by 
were the stables with their thirty stalls. It was in the Davis 
blood to breed horses, and the turf came to know several of 
those from the Davis stables. This pacing stock was said to 
be renowned even in a country where the pacer was reckoned 
the best-gaited horse. They could ride, these Mississippians, 
and it was an accepted part of a "gentleman's equipment" 
to know the lineage of his horses and their performance. 1 It 
was one of these horses, Tartar, that Jefferson Davis took 
with him to Mexico, and another, Black Oliver, that came 
into General Grant's possession when these plantations passed 
into Federal hands. The General thought the horse the best 

34 



THE SCHOLAR-PLANTER 35 

he had. As a matter of course there were always horses for 
the guests and not infrequently they were given to friends. 
Varina Howell always remembered the horse Jefferson Davis 
had selected for her on this first visit to "The Hurricane." 

Brierfield, Jefferson Davis' plantation, which lay next 
"The Hurricane," became in time a valuable property 
too. When he came back in the spring after his wife's death, 
the long shadow of that sorrow was still upon the place. But 
he was now ready to take up life again, and his occupation 
lay before him in Brierfield's many acres, and here he lived 
in a seclusion not usual in Southern life, for eight years. It 
was that form of living that made the men of the South 
reflective, resourceful and very sure of the light they lived 
by. The long evenings after the days' routine of the planta- 
tion gave hour upon hour for study and for such reading 
and thinking as might form, if one's interest lay that way, a 
statesman's background. 

It was in his brother Joseph's "office," as the room was 
called which opened from the wide hall running through the 
center of the house at "The Hurricane" and corresponded to 
the "tea room" for the ladies on the opposite side, that the 
foundations were laid for the political thought of Jeffer- 
son Davis. ^Elliott's Delates, The Federalist^ Adam Smith's 
Wealth of Nations were source material and were read 
and discussed by the brothers. Of first importance were 
the Congressional Debates. There were always the Na- 
tional Intelligencer and the Richmond Enquirer and Charles- 
ton Mercury for the newspapers, which for that time car- 
ried a surprising amount of foreign news. It was through 
them that the brothers must have learned how England had 
met the problem of slavery. The work of Wilberf orce and 
the Quakers had been consummated. The work of Eli 



THE SCHOLAR-PLANTER 35 

he had. As a matter of course there were always horses for 
the guests and not infrequently they were given to friends. 
Varina Howell always remembered the horse Jefferson Davis 
had selected for her on this first visit to "The Hurricane*" 

Brierfield, Jefferson Davis' plantation, which lay next 
"The Hurricane/ 5 became in time a valuable property 
too. When he came back in the spring after his wife's death, 
the long shadow of that sorrow was still upon the place. But 
he was now ready to take up life again, and his occupation 
lay before him in Brierfield's many acres, and here he lived 
in a seclusion not usual in Southern life, for eight years. It 
was that form of living that made the men of the South 
reflective, resourceful and very sure of the light they lived 
by. The long evenings after the days' routine of the planta- 
tion gave hour upon hour for study and for such reading 
and thinking as might form, if one's interest lay that way, a 
statesman's background. 

It was in his brother Joseph's "office," as the room was 
called which opened from the wide hall running through the 
center of the house at "The Hurricane" and corresponded to 
the "tea room" for the ladies on the opposite side, that the 
foundations were laid for the political thought of Jeffer- 
son Davis. 'Elliott's Debates, The Federalist, Adam Smith's 
Wealth of Nations were source material and were read 
and discussed by the brothers. Of first importance were 
the Congressional Debates. There were always the Na- 
tional Intelligencer and the Richmond Enquirer and Charles- 
ton Mercury for the newspapers, which for that time car- 
ried a surprising amount of foreign news. It was through 
them that the brothers must have learned how England had 
met the problem of slavery. The work of Wilberf orce and 
the Quakers had been consummated. The work of Eli 



36 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Thayer and the enterprise of the New England Emigration 
Society were having their beginnings, and the first issue of 
the Liberator had appeared but five years before, and in the 
same year had occurred the Nat Turner insurrection in 
Southampton County, Virginia, which was to indicate how 
grave a matter the rising of the blacks might be* This poor 
creature, a Baptist preacher, stirred some of his fellow slaves 
to bloody action by telling of similar practices of their race 
in Santo Domingo. Beginning with his master's household, 
Turner and his small band of followers killed some fifty 
whites, mostly women and children, and then met their own 
deaths, after trial, by execution in Richmond. In the mood 
of the time there were those in the South who sought to 
relate these two circumstances, the publication of the Lib- 
erator and the Nat Turner insurrection. 

Politics was always the pastime of the Southerner. When 
conversation could be taken from horses, dogs, hunting, or 
the crops of the plantation, it inevitably turned to county 
matters, and then to the larger politics of the State. The 
highest office in the Government had been held by men from 
the South with but three exceptions the two Adamses and 
Martin Van Buren from its beginning down to the time 
when these brothers talked the evenings away on political 
theory, and the Government was not yet fifty years old. It 
is easy to see how the mind of Jefferson Davis in these forma- 
tive years was directed more and more to politics. A way of 
living curiously relieved of stress and strain gave leisure for 
reading and reflection. Conversation, which throughout the 
South nearly always reached the point of accomplishment if 
not of art, made a training school for the oratory that strewed 
the Halls of Congress thick as the Vallombrosa leaves. And 



THE SCHOLAR-PLANTER 37 

the Davis brothers were adepts. And the way was being 
marked out for Jefferson Davis' political rise. 

The subject of slavery in some of its forms came and went 
with the changing days, but at the moment it was not a prob- 
lem to these brothers. Labor was at their hand, and labor 
that could survive the climatic conditions. In conversation, 
or later in debate, it was constantly pointed out how the im- 
provement in the negroes by their long association with the 
planter class was far greater as compared with the gangs 
the New England slave traders fetched with them from the 
African coast. They and many others of the Southland were, 
as Mr. Davis himself said, an agricultural people and they 
concerned themselves with matters of the soil, improvement 
in method to secure a better yield, and different experiments. 
A more scientific treatment of soil restoration awaited an- 
other day. 

But the virgin soil was rich soil and it was only the con- 
stant tillage and lack of crop rotation that ever depleted it. 
Each acre was expected to yield a bale and a half of cotton, 
thus making eight or ten bales for each good field hand. 2 

The pine barrens, the sentinels of poor soil, were here and 
there, but they soon gave way in some of the forest reaches 
to beech and elm, and the magnolias with leaf and bloom 
made beauty all along the upper river land. The roadsides, 
with high hedgerows of tangled brier and Cherokee roses, 
were curving lines of color all through the country, marking 
off the plantations that lay on either side. The furrowed 
hillsides, with wash of rains and soil made sterile with the 
planting year after year of the same crop, had to be aban- 
doned for other land that would give the yield the planters 
sought. But beyond the hedgerows were the river lands and 



38 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

unstinting richness of the soil. It was to such lands the hill- 
country people came. 

The plantation at Brierfield was rapidly coming to a fine 
perfection, too, under Mr. Davis' own care and the wise 
counsels of his planter brother. He had seen the panics of 
some years bring periods of depression in their wake, but in 
the main the telling of the story of those years was that of 
wealth in this magic yield of the cotton. It was not unusual 
for a crop to sell in one year for double the price of the land 
along the lowland acres, and by the time that Jefferson Davis 
had given up soldiering for the life of a planter, he was 
learning how these Mississippi lands and all those that bor- 
dered the Gulf had distanced the crops of the Atlantic sea- 
board. It was a knowledge he carried with him when he was 
in the United States Senate, as well as when, as Secretary of 
War, he knew that in the single year of 1853 *^ e estimated 
cotton crop in Texas alone had been 120,000 bales, and that 
for the past dozen years it had been doubling yearly. Small 
wonder he envisioned expansion of territory or that a railroad 
following a route which would be the carrier for the cotton 
country to the westward was one to be urged. The year 
before the war the delta country was furnishing a three of 
the whole country's four million bales." s Cotton was indeed 
king, and three-fourths of all the field slaves were in his 
service. In the earlier years at Brierfield Jefferson Davis 
was building towards this end. That he did not use the 
knowledge as President of the Confederacy, and so lost the 
chance to make it the surest weapon of the South, many of 
his Southern critics regard as one of his major failures. 

Out beyond the hedgerows that marked off the plantations, 
the types of their owners were as varying as the plantations 
themselves were alike to one another. 



THE SCHOLAR-PLANTER 39 

It was in this period of the middle 'thirties that the rich 
hill lands between Natchez and Vicksburg were invaded by 
the migrants who had learned of the likely wealth. But since 
1820, when the industrial depression in Virginia had been 
first felt, this trek to the Southwest had been going on. Each 
decade saw a doubling or more of the population. The pro- 
portion of slaves rose from forty to forty-seven per cent. 4 
An American principle of equality of opportunity for land 
owners was under way in this region and it was seized upon 
by the people who were told of the possibilities of the 
country. 

There was another type as well. It was not infrequent 
when a man of consequence, such as Colonel Thomas S. 
Dabney, of Gloucester County, Virginia, decided to try for 
the greater wealth rumored of Mississippi, that other citi- 
zens and friends of the locality, were ready to make the 
venture too. In the case of this distinguished Virginian, 
both relatives and friends accompanied him. He was given 
a farewell dinner at Richmond where the Governor presided, 
and where many apt words were said of Mississippi's gain 
and Virginia's loss. 5 The autumn season had been chosen and 
the fine weather made the two months' journey none too 
long. .At the end of the journey the two hundred slaves he 
had brought were at work upon the plantation. It was a 
typical migration. 

His choice of plantation lay to the east of Vicksburg and 
in time covered some four thousand acres. Soon the whole 
district from Vicksburg to Natchez consisted largely of plan- 
tations of this size, and the small farmer was edged out. 
Then another familiar American principle had begun to 
operate. The small slave-owners could not compete with 



40 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

those who had many. The farmers who had no slaves got 
out from the pine barrens what they could. 

Such fantastic doubling in investment soon brought the 
speculator planter, and with him the hurrying migrants that 
follow every trail to the desired end. The "cotton snob," 
who began so simply that the profit from the quick turnover 
of the cotton crop could be placed again in the plantation, 
soon became the new rich of the region. 6 The river brought 
its bandits and gamblers and Showboats, and the poor whites 
that followed along the way rumor led, came slowly to form 
the dwellers in the river towns and to make up the popula- 
tions who were to learn their politics at county towns, the 
barbecues and negro sales. These were some of Mr. Davis 5 
constituents as well as those others whose interests and tastes 
were similar to the scholar-planter at Brierfield, and whose 
broad lands made the river counties of the State. 

It was in the year 1 845 that there began to be talk of Jef- 
ferson Davis having constituents. His quiet routine at Brier- 
field was changed. He was to emerge to take his place in the 
politics of his State, and he was to marry Varina Howell. It 
was now little more than a year since she had come on the 
visit to "The Hurricane" under the escort of her tutor, Judge 
Winchester. The visit was timed for the Christmas holidays, 
and when she went back to her father's plantation,. "The 
Briers" at Natchez, it was to tell of her lover Jefferson 
Davis. The Howells were an old Whig family in the State. 
They had come in the migration of the early part of the 
century like many of the other planter families. Her father 
was an officer under Commodore Decatur, and served with 
distinction in the War of 1812. He was a native of New 
Jersey, the son of an officer with a fine record in the Ameri- 
can Revolution, and who was eight times elected Governor of 



THE SCHOLAR-PLANTER 41 

the State. After the war William Howell had come down 
the river to Natchez to see the country that was now so talked 
of with its rich hill and river lands. It was here he met and 
married one of the Kempe family, originally of Virginia, 
that too had followed the migration manner of the time. He 
and Joseph Davis were close friends, and for long it had 
been a promise that his daughter Varina should visit "The 
Hurricane." Miss Varina was a girl not yet eighteen, rather 
vivid with her dark eyes and hair; her high color and grace- 
ful carriage. She had a certain haughtiness that in later 
years was criticized probably unjustly, for it was rather a 
poise of mind that was hers even at this time. Jefferson 
Davis was on his way to Vicksburg to make his first political 
speech when he came by his niece's plantation, Diamond 
Place, some thirteen miles north of "The Hurricane," where 
Varina Howell was staying, to say that she would be expected 
there the following day. She wrote her mother of his 
coming: 

"Today Uncle Joe sent, by his younger brother (did you 
know he had one?), an urgent invitation to me to go at once 
to 'The Hurricane.' Fdo not know whether this Mr. Jeffer- 
son Davis is young or old. He looks both at times; but I 
believe he is old, for from what I hear he is only two years 
younger than you are. He impresses me as a remarkable 
kind of man, but of uncertain temper, and has a way of tak- 
ing for granted that everybody agrees with him when he ex- 
presses an opinion, which offends me; yet he is most agree- 
able and has a peculiarly sweet voice and a winning manner 
of asserting himself. ... I do not think I shall ever like 
him as I do his brother Joe. Would you believe it, he is 
refined and cultivated, and yet he is a Democrat!" 7 

Her memory of going to make the visit was that she rode 



42 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

away " c all in the blue unclouded weather.' " So little of her 
life was ever again to be unclouded! 

Before she left "The Hurricane" they were engaged. She 
had reconciled the incongruity of a gentleman being a Demo- 
crat to her girlish satisfaction, and had given a love that 
ended only with her long life. 

Their wedding day was February 26, 1845, and the simple 
ceremony was at her father's house. There was the modish 
wedding journey by steamboat to New Orleans. But in a 
few weeks they were back at Brierfield, the only place that 
in all the changes of the years she or Jefferson Davis ever 
called home. 

Brierfield she soon learned was a plantation where discre- 
tion and justice were practiced. 

Any plantation to be brought to its perfection meant the 
skilled handling of labor to secure the best results. The 
negroes at Brierfield were allowed a form of self-govern- 
ment, a trial by a jury of their peers, and they were taught 
the legal form of holding it. The plan had been worked out 
by Joseph Davis on "The Hurricane" plantation but was 
practiced by both brothers. The master's share was that he 
retained the pardoning power. It was only when the jury 
convicted a slave that corporal punishment was ever per- 
mitted. The master of Brierfield had other ways to deal 
with his slaves. This method of handling them became well 
known throughout the river plantations, and it presented the 
example of the "peculiar institution" at its best. The slaves 
showed the effect of the direction of the military officer, they 
were well-ordered and disciplined, and the basis of it all was 
justice. He would ask of his men only what they knew he 
would ask of himself. James Pemberton had seen his master 
work with his own hands in the clearing of the plantation 



THE SCHOLAR-PLANTER 43 

when it first came into his possession. This system as carried 
on by the brothers with slavery is now the accepted plan in 
any group organization to secure the greatest freedom in 
safeguarding the rights of the individual. Had all the plan- 
tations been conducted in such fashion the world would have 
lost the caustic records of Miss Martineau and the more sym- 
pathetic letters of Fanny Kemble. Nor could Olmsted, the 
Arthur Young of the South as he is often called, have seen 
at Brierfield, as he did see some years later in the country 
not far from Jefferson Davis* boyhood home at Woodville, 
a gang of forty negro women, led by an old driver, with hoes 
over their shoulders, "walking with a free, powerful swing, 
like chasseurs on the march." They wore a sort of uniform 
of a "bluish check stuff, the skirt reaching a little below the 
knee; their legs and feet were bare." Behind them were the 
men, about thirty, a sort of cavalry, "but a few of them 
women, two of whom rode astride on their plow mules. A 
lean and vigilant white overseer, on a brisk pony, brought up 
the rear. The men wore small blue Scotch bonnets, many of 
the women handkerchiefs . . . and a few nothing at all on 
their heads." 8 His impression, however, was that the 
negroes in all this locality appeared uncommonly well. The 
Davis Bend system had, seemingly, had its effect upon the 
countryside. 

At no time was Jefferson Davis an extensive slave holder, 
as his brother Joseph was, having not more than thirty-six 
slaves 9 in his own right, but that represented a fair property, 
for the best field hands were bringing $1,250 to $1,500, a 
scale based in the old days of fixing the price of a negro by 
the rate cotton was selling by the pound. This rating of 
value, however, was not always accurate. Some observers 
and economists of the time felt that the great demand for 



44 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

slaves in the Southwest, which had to be supplied from the 
older States, would keep the prices up, and that their rela- 
tions to the price of cotton was a phrase and not an indisput- 
able economic fact. 

The observing Russell found it very interesting that he 
could learn from no one what the cost of maintenance per 
slave was. There seemed to be no interest in that item, how- 
ever exact was the purchase price. One estimate placed it at 
fifteen dollars a year, while others put it as high as sixty. 10 
In the main this relation between capital and labor did not 
require exact computation. The sun shone upon a land that 
was fair and the land gave of its yield and the negroes were 
to be cared for as a part of that bounty. Certainly such was 
their lot at Davis Bend. 

The slaves were encouraged to do better than their ordi- 
nary work and were helped to make the change. One negro 
at Davis Bend had a store and the Davis families bought 
from him. The quarters all had their pieces of ground and 
around the cabins were fruit trees and the chicken houses 
and the sweet potato patch. There was the plantation nursery 
for the children and always the well-stocked storerooms for 
the supplies of all sorts, calicoes, candy, field implements, 
medicine, harness, saddles, and every need of the household. 
It was part again of the self-contained unit the plantation 
was. A Mississippi custom was to give a barrel of molasses 
or less as a Christmas present to the slaves and sometimes the 
promise of this would be used to reconcile negroes who had 
been bought elsewhere to come to the river country. 11 
Reward and punishment reduced the system to its simplest 
terms. 

The social scale of the negroes was gauged by the type of 
the labor, the field hands being in the lowest round and the 



THE SCHOLAR-PLANTER 45 

house and body servants at the top. James Pemberton, the 
young slave who went with Jefferson Davis as his body serv- 
ant when he left for his first detail after graduating from 
West Point, belonged to the best type, and in the legends and 
facts woven around the Davis tradition is a happy part in it 
all. And he was always James. Some one once asked Mr. 
Davis why he called him James, and he said he thought it 
"disrespect to give a nickname." They were friends, this 
James Pemberton and Jefferson Davis. When he came to 
see his master he would never be seated until asked to do so. 
Sometimes it was Mr. Davis who brought him the chair. 
Once there was a serious occurrence on the plantation. "How 
do you think it happened, James?" Mr. Davis asked. "I 
rather think from my neglect," was James' reply. 12 In time 
he became the foreman and it was not until after his death 
in 1852 that there were white overseers at Brierfield, But the 
authority of the overseer was kept in check. He could report 
faults, misdeeds and minor matters, but the whip lash could 
never be used. It was James Pemberton under the direc- 
tion of Mr. Davis who had built Brierfield with the negroes 
on the plantation, and who cared for it when his master was in 
Mexico. And it was the James Pembertons who gave to 
that illusive expression "The South" a meaning known only 
to those they served. 

Absenteeism was to be the problem at Brierfield, as it was 
that of many plantations. It was only a few months after 
his marriage to Varina Howell that Davis was carried into 
political life and elected a Member of Congress in the au- 
tumn of 1845. The ways of the scholar-planter were left 
behind, and from then on for the next seventeen years, he 
was almost continuously at Washington. 



Chapter V Political 

THE middle decade of the first half of the nineteenth cen- 
tury saw a great increase in population throughout the region 
of the rich reaches of the Delta, and in Mississippi alone in 
twenty years it had grown to some three hundred thousand. 
The Government's customary policy with the Indians was 
driving them away from the river lands, and the cotton 
planters were to learn of the rapid returns from this alluvial 
soil. The monoculture of Virginia, tobacco, was exchanged 
for what was to become that of the Lower South, cotton, and 
the basis of Mississippi's wealth as a Sovereign State had its 
beginning. Virginia, on the other hand, was in the throes 
of an industrial depression, and while slaves could be readily 
disposed of it was not so easy to make a sale of the land. 
The cotton planters, having found what the possibilities were, 
sought labor, and heavy traffic in slaves began. 

Soon a trek to the Southwest was the stirring movement of 
the time, and inevitably in this migration were the speculators 
to outwit, if possible, the pioneers. The effects of these 
efforts were to be seen later in the bond issues. Davis tells 
that the settlers in the country along the river, in his boy- 
hood, were largely Kentuckians, Virginians and Tennes- 
seeans, while the eastern part of the State had been taken by 
South Carolinians and Georgians, 1 and these people were 
slave owners who brought their slaves with them. So Mis- 
sissippi and indeed all the Gulf States developed their com- 
monwealths with slavery as their cornerstone, and began to 
realize their economic wealth through the yield of the land, 

46 



POLITICAL RISE 47 

and the slaves were half the factor in the yield. Political 
difficulties through labor had yet to concern any one, and it 
was many years afterward that Justice Lamar said he 
never entertained a doubt as to the soundness of the Southern 
system until he found that slavery could not stand a war. 2 

If the Old South suffered at this time, it was the moment 
of elation for the Lower South, for there was rapidly being 
unrolled across the wide fields of those Gulf States a magic 
carpet whose pattern was that of a soft white ball. With 
wealth to be come by so easily, and a social order devised by 
the dominant race, with the river playing its part to make 
easy the ways to the open sea, and so to the distant markets, 
plantation life offered much. 

And so Jefferson Davis had found it in the development 
at Brierfield. When the Southern planter was not engaged 
in the actual physical direction of his land, he was reflecting 
on the way to develop for political betterment the views of 
the people, many of them the poor whites, who formed his 
county, and then by groups his State. With communication 
chiefly the direct address to the people in the court town 
of the county, the politician had the best means possible 
of forming public opinion, the impressing of personality 
through the emotional effect of the voice. The planter who 
regulated the labor of his slaves through his own position of 
command carried the notion to the outside, and used this per- 
suasive force to formulate a political belief his hearers 
should accept. The Southern politician found this form of 
paternalism an admirable means of regulating party opinion, 
and none used it with more telling effect than Jefferson 
Davis. The time was coming when he was to be asked to use 
it for his State. 

During these planter years at Brierfield he had seen Mis- 



48 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

sissippi, largely through the efforts of the speculators there 
over-running it in the wake of the cotton rise, bring itself to 
a critical pass with the issue of State Bonds. The bonds, 
issued by the Planter's Bank and the Union Bank, amounting 
to about $7,000,000, ceased interest payment in the early 
'forties, and the Governor of the State urged their repudia- 
tion. This the Legislature refused to do, but a Democratic 
success at the polls in a later election accomplished the 
repudiation, and Mississippi had a bar sinister on her shield. 
The Whig Party, entirely out of sympathy with the repudia- 
tion, had tried to force the acknowledgment of the lawful- 
ness of the debt, and the issue was one that the State politics 
kept active well up to the time of the war. The Democrats 
were the party of repudiation, but Mr. Davis did not follow 
his party on this issue. He believed the obligations of the 
State should be met, as the Union bank bonds were, and their 
validity be determined by the courts. An election soon took 
place for the State Legislature in Warren County where there 
were two Whig candidates for the Mississippi House of Rep- 
resentatives. This presented a doubtful hope at best of over- 
coming the Democratic opponent. He was, however, a weak 
candidate and was withdrawn. Jefferson Davis took his place 
and made his first political speech. There was left only a 
week for the campaign and in that time one of the Whig 
candidates withdrew, leaving but one to oppose the Demo- 
crat. The defeat of Mr. Davis was certain. The debate 
with the great Whig orator, Sargeant S. Prentiss, at Vicks- 
burg on Election Day, passed into tradition in the Southwest. 
But the bond subject was not in the debate, as it was one on 
which they were agreed. 

The Whig candidate was elected, but Mississippi had 
learned that the Democrats might have a future leader. 



POLITICAL RISE 49 

The business of the repudiation of the bonds continued 
to hang about State politics, and later many efforts were 
made to link Jefferson Davis with it since it was an act of his 
party. He disposes of the charge in this way: "As this was 
the only occasion on which I was ever a candidate for the 
legislature of Mississippi, it may be seen how unfounded was 
the allegation that attributed to me any part in the legislative 
enactment known as the 'Act of Repudiation.' " 8 

But the matter came very much to the front in 1844, 
when he was a candidate for Congress, and was used as a 
campaign attack. The London Times brought it well to the 
fore when it reprinted 4 the statement, which had been fur- 
nished by Mr. Davis to the Washington Union in February, 
1849, * n ^gard to the bonds. The statement doubtless 
presented his view. 

Statement furnished by Jefferson Davis, Esq., Senator of 
the United States. 

The State of Mississippi has no other question with bond- 
holders than that of debt or no debt. When the United 
States Bank of Pennsylvania purchased what are known as 
the Union Bank bonds, it was within the power of every 
stockholder to learn that they had been issued in disregard 
of the Constitution of the State, whose faith they assumed 
to pledge. By the Constitution and the laws of Mississippi, 
any creditor of the State may bring suit against the State 
and test his claim as against an individual; but convinced 
that they have no valid claims they have not sought their 
remedy. Relying upon empty (because false) denunciation, 
they have made it a point of honour to show what can be 
s&own by judicial investigation, i.e., that there being no debt, 
there has been no default. The crocodile tears which have 
been shed over ruined creditors are on a par with the baseless 
denunciations which have been heaped upon the State. 



5 o JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Those bonds were purchased by a bank then tottering to a 
fall purchased in violation of the charter of the bank, or 
fraudulently, by concealing the transaction under the name 
of an individual, as may best suit those concerned purchased 
in violation of the terms of the law under which the bonds 
were issued, and in disregard of the Constitution of Missis- 
sippi of which the law was an infraction. To sustain the 
credit of that rickety bank, the bonds were hypothecated 
abroad for interests on loans which could not be met as they 
came due. A smaller amount is due for what are termed 
Planters Bank Bonds of Mississippi. These evidences of 
debt as well as the coupons issued to cover accruing interest, 
are receivable for State lands j and no one has a right to 
assume that they will not be provided for otherwise, by or 
before the date at which the whole debt becomes due. 

The Times dealt with the matter accordingly. Referring 
to the statement it said: "Taking its principles and its tone 
together, it is a document which has never been paralleled. 
Let it circulate throughout Europe that a member of the 
United States Senate, in 1 849, has openly proclaimed that at 
a recent period the Governor and Legislative Assemblies 
of his own State deliberately issued fraudulent bonds for 
$5,000,000 'to sustain the credit of a rickety bank' 5 that the 
bonds in question having been hypothecated abroad to inno- 
cent holders, such holders have not only no claim against the 
community by whose Executive and representations this act 
was committed, but that they are to be taunted for appealing 
to the verdict of the civilized world rather than to the judg- 
ment of the legal officers of the State by whose functionaries 
they have been already robbed 5 and that the ruin of toil- 
worn men, of widows, and of children and the 'crocodile 
tears 5 which that ruin has occasioned, is a subject of jest on 
the part of those by whom it has been accomplished, and then 
let it be asked if any foreigner ever penned a libel on the 



POLITICAL RISE 51 

American character equal to this against the people of Mis- 
sissippi from their own Senator. Let it also be added that 
this Senator enjoys all the further advantages of social 
position which can be conferred upon his being a son-in-law 
of General Taylor, the President, and for the future let those 
statesmen who regard the honor of their common country, 
and who sometimes complain of harsh prejudices on this side, 
admit that in the face of such occurrences, so far from these 
prejudices being unnatural, the fact of their not being much 
stronger shows a disposition amongst us to place a far higher 
estimate on the integrity of the mass of the people than that 
which is accorded to them by some of their most prominent 
defenders." 

It came to light again when Robert J. Walker, the Senator 
from Mississippi, whose vivid political career included be- 
coming a strong anti-slavery man in 1861, and a staunch 
Lincoln Republican, was sent to London as a fiscal agent for 
the Federal Government. He was credited with having tried 
to fasten the repudiation matter upon Jefferson Davis, and 
of warning the Times and "its money-lending readers that 
they would lose their favorite Confederate bonds." 5 Had 
the Times referred to its own files it might have found 
support for Mr. WalkePs view, so far as it related to Eng- 
lish bond holders. 6 But at that time it had not made its 
second change to sympathy with the North. The historians 
of the South are agreed that Mr. Davis has been completely 
vindicated of the charge of being a repudiator, and at no time 
then or afterward was his personal integrity ever questioned. 7 

The young Democrat who made his entrance into political 
life with a week's speech-making as a candidate for the State 
House of Representatives was chosen in 1844 as one of 
the Presidential Electors of the State, and then made a tour 



52 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

of the State campaigning for Polk and Dallas. The first 
railway in Mississippi had been built only four years be- 
fore and ran from Vicksburg to Clinton, so campaigning 
was done on horseback or by horse and carriage, and the hos- 
pitality of gentlemen's houses rather than the doubtful inns 
on the way was accepted. This touring every county in the 
State brought candidate and voter together in this intimate 
way and fixed a relation that made for .better political under- 
standing. It proved so in Jefferson Davis' case. It brought 
even rival candidates together who frequently shared the 
same carriage, and stayed at the same houses. The strain of 
political difference would be lessened in social relation. 

In another year he was elected to Congress and the planter 
at Brierfield had begun the long trail of public life that 
ended in Irwinsville twenty years later. 

The Mississippians, it appears, felt that a new orator was 
among them. In the limits of political definition, the Demo- 
crats believed they saw material for a leader in this recently 
elected Congressman. It was then, rather as a matter of 
course, that he was chosen as the speaker of the evening to 
introduce Calhoun when, in the circuit of a tour the great 
Southern leader was making in the Southwest, he came to 
Vicksburg. It was only five years later that Calhoun was to 
say that his mantle would fall upon the shoulders of this 
young scholar-planter from Davis Bend. The night at 
Vicksburg as these two men appeared before their audience 
made up of Whigs and Democrats alike, the belief was that a 
greater democracy was to be abroad in the land, of which 
these speakers were fine examples. Whither it was leading 
no one was reckoning then. It was the beginning of a friend- 
ship that went on through years. 

They were strangely similar, the older and the younger 



POLITICAL RISE 53 

man They were slim, rather slightly built, and talL They 
were alert and moved rapidly. It was to be said of Davis 
later that he had a* chin like Calhoun's a firm, square chin. 
Mrs. Davis remembered Calhoun's hands as "nervous" and 
"gentlemanly." Davis' hands were described as noticeable 
for their slender elegance. 8 Both had a grave manner. Cal- 
houn smiled but seldom, and Davis' aloofness was often 
noted. The marked difference was in their voices. Calhoun 
had no quality of music in his voice. Davis' voice was never 
without it. Calhoun talked upon the duty of a citizen to the 
State, a pleasant and familiar topic, and wholly sympathetic, 
to his hearers. And Davis went on record as urging a strict 
construction of the Constitution. What they did not talk 
about, these Democrats who were imperialists, was the idea 
that lay behind all plans for the country, an idea that was 
always in the mind of Calhoun and found ready agreement in 
that of Davis that is, Empire which should extend the area 
of slavery. 

The occasion brought out another fact. It was that the 
young orator would not again write out his speeches. The 
speech he had written* was not the one he delivered. He was 
full of his subject, and the effort of remembering what he 
had written was more difficult than to pour out in -his ready 
way the. thing which must be said. Thereafter notes, such 
as he might make on small sheets of paper, names and dates, 
a few sentences, were all that he ever used. He had the 
orator's intuitive sense of when and 'by what he could hold 
his audience, and always the quality in his voice that kept 
attention, even above the meaning of the words. He had no 
need of written matter. He spoke rapidly, a trick he may 
have learned from Calhoun, and he could speak with fire, as 



54 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Congress was soon tcf know. The speeches of that evening 
at Vicksburg brought great applause. 

The day after, Mr. and Mrs. Davis were on their way to 
Washington, and the public life of Jefferson Davis had 
begun. The journey took some three weeks. They were 
caught in an ice jam on the Ohio River, and peril and delay 
were part of the experience. The stage coach travel was over 
roads deep in snow, and accident and discomfort were inci- 
dents of it all. Ifwas then that Varina Davis saw her hus- 
band as the soldier, the man' who made light of these mishaps 
and hardships, and the rations, limited and poor. But Wash- 
ington was reached at last, and they were soon established 
at the National Hotel in Pennsylvania Avenue, made of con- 
sequence since President Polk had stopped there at his Inau- 
guration. 9 Congress was to assemble in a few days. 

When Mr. Davis took his seat in the Twenty-ninth Con- 
gress in December, 1845, it was under the'segis of an expan- 
sionist President. So was this young Congressman an expan- 
sionist for the South. Before the month was out Texas had 
been incorporated into the Union and the Administration was 
free to take up the other campaign bait "54 40' or Fight" 
and settle the Oregon boundary. Both of these expansion 
projects carried the threat of war, and one accomplished it. 

It was on the question of the Oregon policy that the young 
Congressman from Mississippi made his first speech in Con- 
gress. He had previously introduced two resolutions, one, 
appropriately enough for this political soldier, asking to have 
the Committee on Military Affairs inquire into the expedi- 
ency of converting a portion of the forts of the United States 
into schools for military instruction. 

It was, in short, a form of preparedness and Mr. Davis 



POLITICAL RISE 55 

offered the resolution close to the moment when Texas 
became one of the twenty-eight States of the Union. 

But the Oregon matter was the important one of the ses- 
sion and it brought out the oratory of the Southern members, 
some of whom had sat in the Twenty-eighth Congress, and 
all of whom were to be prominent in the road building to 
the Confederacy. There was the member from Georgia, 
Robert .Toombs, with the head like Danton, perhaps with 
Stephens the most able of them all, who like Davis was a 
newcomer in the House. His maiden speech also was on 
this Oregon matter. There were William L. Yancey, of 
Alabama, whose idea of the Union was perpetual operation 
of "Southern rights"} Howell Cobb, so skilled as a parlia- 
mentarian as to make him the presiding officer of the Seces- 
sion Convention at Montgomery, and the disappointed candi- 
date for the Confederate Presidency} Alexander H. Ste- 
phens, the future Vice-President of the Confederacy} and the 
tailor from Tennessee, Andrew Johnson, picturesque and 
staunch in his support, at this time, of the South, who was 
destined in the years to come to share with Jefferson Davis the 
amazing charge of being implicated in the assassination of 
Lincoln. But the weakest link in the chain that forged the 
destiny of these two men was the genera] amnesty which 
Johnson as President issued in 1868 to all those who had 
taken part in the "treason against the United States, together 
with a restoration of all rights under the Constitution," for 
Jefferson Davis never took the oath of allegiance, nor did he 
accept the pardon. The rather childish story that the ani- 
mosity which Johnson showed towards Jefferson Davis dated 
from a speech of the latter in this Twenty-ninth Congress is 
worthy of perpetuation only to show that if Andrew Johnson 
had to wait to be taught to write by his wife, he had learned 



5 6 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

much from hearing read the speeches of British statesmen, 
and the later reading of them himself had taught him how to 
make ready response from the floor of Congress. It was to- 
ward the end of the Session in 1845, and Mr. Davis, in sup- 
porting some resolutions relative to operations at Matamoras, 
had protested against criticism of West Point and the Army 
which had been made previously by a Member from Ohio. 
He was able technically to point out that the skill there 
shown had "crumbled the stone walls of Matamoras to the 
ground," and he asked the Member "to say whether he 
believed a blacksmith or a tailor could have secured the same 
results." The Member from Ohio chanced to be a black- 
smith, but took the allusion, made quite by chance, good- 
naturedly. The tailor from Tennessee, however, made it the 
opportunity of a stirring speech in which he spoke with pride 
of being a mechanic, "with a slur upon an 'illegitimate, 
swaggering, bastard, scrub aristocracy' and declared that 
'when a blow was struck upon that class, either direct or by 
innuendo, from Whig or Democrat, he would resent it.' He 
summoned all history, sacred and profane, beginning with 
Adam, who (he said) was a tailor, to do honor to his class of 
mechanics." 10 Mr. Davis disclaimed any intention of re- 
flecting upon any class. He was simply attempting to show 
that war, like any knowledge, had to be taught. Both men 
later knew the full truth of that reply. 

Other members in the House who formed the Southern 
group were R. Barnwell Rhett, of South Carolina, whose 
Charleston Mercury " tried to make political capital by de- 
claring that the claim of the United States to the Oregon 
region was unsound, and R. M. T. Hunter, of Virginia, then 
in his thirty-sixth year, one of the three Commissioners in 
the after years appointed by Mr. Davis to the Hampton 



POLITICAL RISE 57 

Roads Peace Conference. These men, all in their young 
prime, were those who met to carry out in one way or an- 
other the expansionist principles which had elected the Dem- 
ocrat, Polk of Tennessee, to be President. 

The fact that the annexation of Texas was sure to lead to 
war with Mexico was not unacceptable to the Southern 
leaders. Expansion in that direction was as it should be. 
Expansion in the direction of the Northwest, certain to 
threaten war with England, called for consideration and re- 
flection. The Oregon trail had been a lure of some years, 
and the denizens of the covered wagons had gathered to such 
a number up through this wonder country that some form 
of government had to be devised the Federal Govern- 
ment would control. Organization of the country into a 
territory involved a settlement with England as to boundary 
since there had beeu the joint occupation from 1 8 1 8. 

In the early months of 1846 President Polk set about 
making good his somewhat hysterical declaration in his 
inaugural address of the year before that the American claim 
of Oregon was sound, thus clearly preparing for a straining 
of Anglo-American relations, for England was quite as sure 
of the justness of her claim. The treaty agreement of joint 
occupation pending the settlement of the claims had so far 
kept the peace. In the end the settlement was made at 49 , 
which had been refused by England three times when offered 
by John Quincy Adams. 12 But before this was accomplished 
the House learned of the views of the Member from Mis- 
sissippi on expansion in the Southwest and Northwest and the 
bias of sectionalism. "Who are those," he asked, "that 
arraign the South, imputing to us motives of sectional aggran- 
dizement? Generally, the same who resisted Texan annexa- 
tion, and most eagerly press on the immediate occupation of 



5 8 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

the whole of Oregon. The source is worthy the suspicion. 
These were the men whose constitutional scruples resisted the 
admission of a country gratuitously offered to us, but now 
look forward to gaining Canada by conquest. These are the 
same who claim a weight to balance Texas, while they attack 
others as governed by sectional considerations." 1S He re- 
called the phrasing of the campaign plank in regard to the 
reoccupation of Oregon, that it was the intention not to give 
immediate "notice" but "at the earliest practical period," u 
which carried with it the implication that the President would 
not, if authorized to give notice to England, do so until 
there had been some preparation for war. Again it was the 
soldier speaking, and he became the politician long enough 
to bring into his speech matter to satisfy his constituents, 
namely, that in the event of war, Mississippi as always would 
be ready for such an eventuality, a fact which actuated him 
"to oppose a policy that threatens an unnecessary war." 

So in this first speech the first traces of the Davis credo 
are found expansion where the "peculiar institution" would 
flourish, and if a war was to be undertaken to prepare for it. 
Robert Toombs, whose speech on the Oregon question had 
preceded that of Davis by some days, had declared that look- 
ing at the problem as national rather than sectional, he 
thought the time had come to end the joint occupancy with 
England of Oregon, and he endorsed the President's pro- 
posal of "adjustment on the basis of the 49th parallel." 
As to the time of notice, he believed the matter lay in the 
President's hands "since he was constitutionally charged with 
the conduct of foreign relations." But in a letter to his 
friend, the Governor of Georgia, George W. Crawford, he 
expressed his views more frankly. "Notice will force an 
early settlement," he wrote. "That settlement will be upon 



POLITICAL RISE 59 

or near the basis of 49, and therefore a loss of half the 
country. ... I don't [care] a fig about any of Oregon 
and would gladly get ridd [sic] of the controversy by giving 
it all to anybody else than the British if I could with honor. 
The country is too large now, and I don't want a foot of 
Oregon or an acre of any other country, especially," he 
thoughtfully added, "without 'niggers.' " 15 Honest Robert 
Toombs! 

By April the active President felt the time had come to 
give "notice" to England that in a year joint occupancy of 
the Oregon country would cease. Another month saw the 
war with Mexico begun, which took up- the interests of the 
jingoes, and by June the boundary settlement of the North 
country at 49 had been accomplished without war with 
England, and Canada was free to borrow the Psalmist's 
phrasing of dominion from sea to sea, and Mr. Polk had 
more leisure for Mexico and to get on with his Diary. 

The stay at the National Hotel had not been long. Soon 
Mr. and Mrs. Davi were established in a boarding house as 
members of a "Congressional Mess," the customary resi- 
dential method in Washington. 

Davis had brought his scholar-planter ways with him from 
Brierfield, and spent much time in reading -and studying. 
He often worked until two and three o'clock in the morning. 
The House had the benefit of this. When he spoke he was 
informed. The social life touched him very little. He was 
a man of ambition, and some thought it lay along Pennsyl- 
vania Avenue to the other end. But whatever his ambi- 
tions he had the wisdom to know that growth comes with 
study, and the social life seemed of little consequence. 
Sometimes his wife thought he underestimated the impor- 



60 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

tance of such a connection with people, and carried his aloof- 
ness too far for his own good. 

He made his first impression upon the House with the 
Oregon speech, and a month later, in March, as a strict con- 
structionist he opposed certain measures in the River and 
Harbor Bill, which, he thought, were devised for local rather 
than national benefit. He went on record with two very 
interesting statements. "I feel, sir," he replied to a Mem- 
ber, "I am incapable of sectional distinction upon such ob- 
jects. I abhor and reject all interested combinations." 18 
Like all opinions these were subject to change. 

The spring brought the recurring rumors of trouble on 
the Mexican border, and in May the President sent \ mes- 
sage to Congress that a state of war existed with Mexico. 
The two men who had stood together on the platform at 
Vicksburg, the old Southern leader, Calhoun, and the man 
destined to be the new, Jefferson Davis, the one in the Senate, 
the other in the House, but with no collusion, the story runs, 
rose and each asked by what right the President took from 
the Congress its delegated authority to declare war. The 
President's message had said: "The cup of forbearance has 
been exhausted . . . After reiterated menaces, Mexico has 
passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our 
territory and shed American blood upon the American soil, 
. . . War exists , . . and exists by the Act of Mexico 
herself." 17 

On April 6, 1917, when the cup of forbearance had for 
some time seemed exhausted to the American people, Presi- 
dent Wilson addressed the Congress and made use of the im- 
portant word "advise," thereby obviating such a question. 
"With a profound sense of the solemn and even tragical 
character of the step I am taking," he said, "and of the grave 



POLITICAL RISE 61 

responsibilities which it involves, but in unhesitating obedi- 
ence to what I deem my constitutional duty, I advise that the 
Congress declare the recent course of the Imperial German 
Government to be, in fact, nothing less than war against the 
Government and people of the United States." Sixty-one 
years lay between the two speeches, but the Congress of 1 846 
in the end made the declaration as willingly as did that of the 
Congress of 1917, when the* more tactful method of the then 
President had been employed. 

In June Mr, Davis resigned his seat and laid aside the 
duties of a national politician. His State had asked him to 
command a regiment of Volunteers for service in Mexico. 
He was to be once again the soldier. When he returned to 
Washington it was as a Senator in the Thirtieth Congress. 



Chapter VI On the 'Road to Buena Vista 

THERE were stirrings of a foreign policy for the United 
States in the Presidential year of 1 844, and expansion under- 
lay the two main issues. The annexation of Texas would 
involve Mexico, French and English intervention were pos- 
sible, and were the whole of the Oregon territory to be 
seized, thus breaking a common holding with England since 
1 8 1 8, war was inevitable, 

In the spring of that year President Tyler's treaty of 
annexation with Texas was rejected by the Senate. The vote 
was 1 6 to 35, and Woodrow Wilson, the historian, wrote that 
"men of both parties alike [were] deeply irritated that the 
President should spring this weighty matter upon the country 
in such a fashion, taking no counsel beforehand save such 
as he chose to take." * Woodrow Wilson, the President, found 
it as a method no more acceptable to the American people. 

But the political conventions of that summer made definite 
party alignments on the issue. The Whigs were silent, since 
they did not desire a war with Mexico. The Democrats had 
put the telling plank into their platform, "the reoccupation 
of Oregon and the reannexation of Texas at the earliest pos- 
sible moment," the people were shouting "54 40' or Fight! " 
and James K. Polk was elected. There was a happy indica- 
tion of expansion westward and to the South in the telling 
phrase "manifest destiny," and it was supposed to indicate 
that the Union should reach the Isthmus. Their candi- 
date's position on annexation at least was well known. Just 

previous to Mr. Folk's taking office, a joint resolution for the 

62 



ON THE ROAD TO BUENA VISTA 63 

annexation of Texas was adopted by Congress, on March i, 
1845. Mr. Tyler had had his way with the "little group of 
wilful men." But the margin was slight. In the Senate 
twenty-seven voted aye, and twenty-five nay. 2 In the House 
shortly after taking his seat, Mr. Davis had voted for an- 
nexation by this method of resolution by Congress rather 
than by treaty. Texas was annexed and the Mexican War 
followed. In the Oregon matter it was quite otherwise. 
Negotiations and quiet counsel prevailed, and the now 
famous "long, invisible border" was determined by the con- 
tinuation at latitude 49 of Castlereagh's line, 3 and there was 
no war with England. 

But before this, expansion in one form or another was to be 
heard of many times in Congress and the market place, and 
across it like a long dark shadow was a corollary which was to 
be part of and run along with this desire for land. That fine 
delicate adjustment, which between nations is called balance 
of power, was to become in the Congress of the United 
States, when applied to slave-holding and non-slave-holding 
States, the germinating source of the "irrepressible conflict." 
There were the years between and Mr. Jefferson Davis had 
made a success of his first set speech in Congress on the 
Oregon question, thereby directing attention to himself as a 
Member, with a military record of leading a charge at Mon- 
terey and his famous reentering angle at Buena Vista. 

It was Mr. Buchanan's pleasant duty as Secretary of State 
in early September to inform the Hon. John Slidell, then in 
Congress as a Representative from Louisiana, that he was 
President Folk's choice as Special Ambassador to Mexico to 
smooth out such difficulties as had arisen inevitably after the 
annexation of Texas as well as those of a more remote origin. 
The mission was a highly delicate one. There were some 



64 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

installments of money due the United States from Mexico 
for claims of American citizens against that country. These 
the United States would assume if the Ambassador were suc- 
cessful in negotiating concerning the boundary of Texas, that 
is, that it should reach to the Rio Grande} and would pay in 
cash a suitable equivalent. 4 The advantage all lay with the 
United States, to be sure, but something had to be done to 
remove the idea from the Mexican mind that it would be 
possible to reconquer Texas, and from the minds of various 
European Powers that a monarchy could be set up in Mexico. 
Louis Napoleon was still a prisoner at Ham in the early 
months of 1846, though soon to make his escape and reach 
London. But it was to be some ten years before he was 
seriously reviewing with Disraeli the possibility of establish- 
ing perhaps a Bourbon monarchy there 5 or of considering as 
the more likely candidate for Emperor the young Navy 
Archduke at Miramar. 

But the gossip of the moment had it that the Spanish 
Prince Henry, son of Francisco de Paula, would be a satis- 
factory ruler. 6 Further, at this time, the activity of the 
British and French agents was in full tide in their efforts to 
persuade Texas that if she would refuse annexation with the 
United States she could be assured that England and France 
would guarantee that Mexico would acknowledge her inde- 
pendence. It was one of those little matters where the 
idea of foreign intervention sometimes produces domestic 
solidarity. The people of Texas forced the assembling of 
the Convention, at Austin in July, and the ratification of 
annexation was secured. 

Slidell was given highly discretionary powers, for the 
President had great faith in his abilities, but Mr. Buchanan 
assured him that a United States Naval vessel would always 



ON THE ROAD TO BUENA VISTA 65 

be in the roadstead at Vera Cruz, waiting either for his dis- 
patches or himself. Mexico was embarking on a customary 
revolution and a new government came into power, though 
not through the prescribed constitutional channels, which 
Slidell described as a "military despotism" with Paredes at 
its head; and then the question presented itself as to whether 
Slidell would be recognized by this de facto Government. 
If he were not, as was the case in the Government of Her- 
rara, he would then return to the United States, and the 
President would recommend "energetic measures" against 
Mexico. 7 

This Mexican mission proved to be the first of Mr. 
SlidelPs failures in such matters, but he seems rather to have 
made a success of a failure, if one thinks of the eventualities. 
Certainly it was a success so far as the policy of the Adminis- 
tration was concerned. The Paredes Government refused to 
receive him and in April he withdrew to New Orleans, 
whence he wrote his chief that the public generally would 
think him a failure as a diplomat, but not Mr. Buchanan nor 
a a discreet few," and that he would come to Washington at 
once "if the Secretary so desired," 

Another observer for the United States had been engaged 
in military diplomacy during these months when Slidell was 
postured in Mexico awaiting recognition. Following upon 
the ratification of the Annexation of Texas by the Conven- 
tion in July, the United States considered it only precau- 
tionary to place a small detachment of troops in Texas, and 
General Zachary Taylor with about fifteen hundred men 
was ordered to Corpus Christi. Later this force was aug- 
mented to about four thousand, for already Mexican troops 
were making demonstration towards the Rio Grande del 
Norte. 



66 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

It was in the following March that General Taylor, by 
order of the President, advanced nearer to the Rio Grande 
through a country vivid in spring sunshine and gay with the 
blue lupine, 8 marigolds, and verbena, and encamped opposite 
to Matamoras. A United States force was on the Mexican 
border. In fact, a Mexican authority, a Senator from the 
State of Jalisco, described General Taylor's force as "an army 
of observation," and further, which is perhaps more im- 
portant, and more assuaging to those who wanted war, de- 
clared that Paredes' Government began hostilities. 9 Mr. 
Polk was, however, having a long look to the westward and 
making suitable arrangements for dealing with California 
if the unfortunate thing of war with Mexico should occur. 
San Francisco was to be seized by the Pacific squadron, and 
approaches were to be made to California to come into the 
Union as a free and independent State, in the event of France 
or England attempting to claim the land. At the right time 
California made her choice, and made it as a Free State, 
which was a contributing factor in disarranging the balance of 
power between Free and Slave States. But in the mean- 
time Fremont and his sixty-two riflemen did admirable ex- 
ploration in Mexican territory and gave every evidence of 
"to have and to hold" under the blanket commission of an 
exploring expedition. 

On the very day Mr. Polk was listening to Mr. SlidelPs 
urgings to act against Mexico, word came of the killing and 
capture of some United States dragoons. A small group of 
Taylor's men a scouting party were seized by the Mexi- 
cans, and this together with Paredes' refusal to recognize 
Slidell gave Congress the desired opportunity in early May 
to dedare that a state of war existed between the United 
States and Mexico. Seemingly Mr. Polk could come before 



ON THE ROAD TO BUENA VISTA 67 

the country with a clear case. United States troops were 
holding land already part of the United States that is, the 
Rio Grande was the old boundary which Texas claimed, and 
certainly territory belonging to the United States could not 
be invaded and the only existing Government of Mexico 
had refused to recognize the special envoy who had been 
given power to negotiate these delicate matters of boundaries 
and make satisfactory adjustments. "War exists, and exists 
by the Act of Mexico herself," said the President to Con- 
gress. Congress replied by voting ten million dollars and 
authorizing a call for fifty thousand troops, and three hun- 
dred thousand men answered. They remembered the 
Alamo and Goliad. And Jefferson Davis went into the Army 
again. The war was popular throughout the Southwest, 
where the idea of reveling in the halls of the Montezumas 
seemed more than a literary illusion. The dream of empire 
was never far away from these gentlemen warriors of the 
plantations. 

"The dreadful call," Mrs. Davis writes, came when a mes- 
sage was brought to Davis at Washington that he had been 
elected Colonel of a Mississippi regiment of volunteers 
organized at Vicksburg. It was the call of the soldier, and 
he at once set about securing proper arms and equipment be- 
fore leaving Washington. Davis knew the type of men 
who made up the regiment. They were men of social im- 
portance, these privates, and they took their body servants 
with them. 10 Men eager to fight, and to have as their 
Colonel one of the most popular men in the State. They 
were the Rough Riders of their day. They were used to 
long days in the saddle, riding over the plantations, hunters, 
and good shots all of them. It was this fact that caused 
Davis to wish to equip them with rifles, rather than the old- 



68 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

fashioned flintlock musket long in use in the army. This 
suggestion brought the first collision with General Scott, 
who, however much his mind was occupied with his excep- 
tional qualities for the Presidency, was primarily the trained 
soldier, and uniformity of equipment was a first essential. 
President Polk fairly if pompously recorded in his Diary that 
General Scott, whom he did not consider qualified in all 
respects, had been given the command of the Army to be 
raised for the War in Mexico because "his position entitled 
him to it if he desired it." u The old flintlock musket was in 
use in the Army. Better that than this untried percussion- 
rifle. He had first said four companies might have rifles, 
but in the end the whole regiment was equipped with them. 
The use they made of them caused to be written into the his- 
tory of the State of Mississippi that "the charge of the 
Mississippi Rifle Regiment, without bayonets, upon Fort 
Teneria, gained for the State a triumph which stands un- 
paralleled," 12 and the regiment had a name, "The Missis- 
sippi Rifles," for all time. 

The regiment left Vicksburg for New Orleans before 
Davis joined it. Congress was still in session, tariflF con- 
siderations had followed upon the long debates over the 
Oregon question and the Mexican situation, and at the 
President's personal solicitation Davis was asked to remain 
until the passage of the tariflF bill, promising that "the War 
Department would receive instructions to meet his requisi- 
tions." 18 The Member from Mississippi had given a good 
accounting of himself in his one year in the Twenty-ninth 
Congress. 

In June he left Washington, going first to his plantation 
at Brierfield before joining his regiment where it was en- 
camped below New Orleans. On the journey down the river 



ON THE ROAD TO BUENA VISTA 69 

he addressed his constituents in a letter to the Editor of the 
Vicksburg Sentinel, reviewing the year's work in the House 
of Representatives. He is on the steamer The Star Spangled 
Banner y and the address is full of patriotism. He recalls 
that the Oregon matter was adjusted without straining 
diplomacy too far, but in the case of Mexico it had been 
necessary to declare that a state of war existed. Texas had 
been invaded, and "the zeal shown in every quarter of the 
Union to engage in service of our common country furnishes 
just cause for patriotic pride and gratulation." 14 

He told his constituents of the importance of the tariff bill. 
Its main purpose was to "regulate anew the duties upon im- 
ports," in short, a tariff for revenue only, and it passed the 
House the evening before he left Washington and he "enter- 
tained no doubt of its passing through the Senate and becom- 
ing the law of the land." This was the famous Walker 
Tariff bill which passed the Senate by a single vote, and 
then only after long debate. The President had been doubt- 
ful of its passage, for, as he faithfully recorded in his Diary, 
"the city has been swarming with manufacturers who are 
making tremendous exertions to defeat it." 15 The bill was 
said to have been largely written by the Secretary of the 
Treasury, Robert J. Walker, the man who drew the sinister 
circle around Davis' name in the matter of the repudiation 
of the Mississippi bonds, the while he himself, so some say, 
was the arch repudiator. Davis further assured his con- 
stituents that unless an early peace with Mexico ensued, so 
that he might continue to serve as their Representative in 
Congress, he would resign in ample time for them "to select 



a successor." 



He joined the regiment near New Orleans, where it was 
embarked on the steamship Alabama for Point Isabel, Texas. 



7 o JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Here the regiment was in camp for several weeks, during 
which time the Colonel, having refreshed his West Point 
memory with a little volume on military tactics, put his men 
through the stiff training so acceptable to a Regular Army 
officer. The sun burned wicked heat on the men, the water 
was none too good, and in the three weeks' stay the sick list 
grew from day to day. But this training was soon to tell. 
By the middle of August they had moved up to the mouth 
of the Rio Grande, and there waited uncertain transportation 
to Camargo, where General Taylor had assembled his com- 
mand of some 12,000 men with Monterey as the first ob- 
jective. 

It was in September, shortly after the Mississippi Rifles 
had reached Camargo, that, brigaded with the Tennesseeans 
under Brigade Commander Quitman, they supported the 
regulars on the advance to the dtadel at Monterey, where 
Colonel Davis gained for himself a record of personal 
bravery and military daring, and the regiment a reputation 
that was to be enhanced later at Buena Vista. There was 
the happy precedent for regiments from these States to be 
together in this war, for they had thus been under General 
Jackson before New Orleans. 

General Ampudia found the morale of his officers and 
men low after the stubborn fighting of the Americans; there 
was a retreat of the Mexicans to Saltillo, the highway for 
their lines of communications cut off by some of General 
Worth's troops, and the time, so General Ampudia thought, 
had come for negotiation. He had heard, too, when these 
men of General Worth's had rushed headlong into the lower 
town, a cry that "began with a growl and rose to a falsetto 
scream," which in another war was to be known as the "rebel 
yell," and was to hearten men to great endeavor, but 



ON THE ROAD TO BUENA VISTA 71 

whose echo has come down through the years to a whisper. 16 
General Ampudia sought and obtained a meeting with 
General Taylor, and the result of the negotiations was the 
appointment of a commission of three Mexicans and three 
Americans. Colonel Davis was one of these. An armistice 
was effected, with the capitulation of Monterey, which 
turned over the city, fortifications, munitions of war and all 
other public property to the commanding General of the 
United States forces, fixed a line beyond which the forces 
of the United States would not advance for a period of eight 
weeks, or until the Governments of both sides had been heard 
from, and provided that the Mexican forces were to retain 
the arms and accoutrements of the different branches of the 



service. 17 



These terms, when presented at Washington, were unac- 
ceptable to President Polk, his Cabinet and the politicians, 
many of whom believed General Taylor should have held 
to his crisp statement to General Ampudia that he would 
accept only unconditional surrender. But the commissioners 
reasoned that a less harsh treatment now might prove of 
future benefit, and this was the view taken to the floor of the 
Senate during the discussion of the terms. The terms were 
declared unsatisfactory 1S on the ground that they gave the 
Mexicans an opportunity to reorganize their Army for an- 
other attack, and General Taylor was sharply criticized. 
Colonel Davis at that time and later supported the General. 
He wrote: "As to the wisdom of the course adopted in this 
capitulation, men did, and probably will, differ. For myself, 
I approved it when it was done, and now, viewing it after the 
fact, I can see much to convince me in the view I originally 
took. We gained possession of a fort, large and well con- 
structed. . . . We gained a large amount of powder and 



72 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

fixed ammunition. Much of this was stored in the main 
cathedral, and the fire of our mortars directed against that 
building must have produced an explosion which would have 
destroyed the ammunition, a great number of houses which 
have been useful to us, and with the enemy's troops in the 
plaza, must have destroyed many of the advance of our own 
forces. " 

It was not the first instance of Davis praising the man who 
had been at one time his unwilling father-in-law. When the 
House on May 28, 1846, offered joint resolutions of thanks 
to General Taylor, Davis felicitously said: ld 

"The world held not a soldier better qualified for the 
services he was engaged in than General Taylor. Trained 
from his youth to arms, having spent the greater portion of 
his life on our frontier, his experience peculiarly fits him for 
the command he holds." 

And later after his return from Buena Vista, when in the 
Senate 20 he had occasion to say, "Must President-making, 
too, be invoked in a resolution of thanks to gallant officers? 
If so, and if the great result which has been deprecated is to 
come, and the Army is to make your President, I would 
rather receive him from them than from the hands of fanat- 
ics. But there stands a soldier whose life has been wholly de- 
voted to his country whose services, accumulating one by 
one, have become a pyramid, as beautiful for its simplicity 
as it is sublime for its grandeur." 

Before leaving Washington, Davis had asked the Presi- 
dent that his regiment might be brigaded with General 
Taylor. The campaign days in the Black Hawk War were 
remembered, and the differences which arose over Davis 3 
marriage with the General's daughter in some way recon- 
ciled. Their first meeting since the rupture seems to have 



ON THE ROAD TO BUENA VISTA 73 

been on a steamboat on the Mississippi rather than here, in 
the sickly wastes of the chaparral-grown fields at Camargo, 
as legend has sought to prove. 

Within a fortnight or so after the battle of Monterey, 
Colonel Davis asked for a furlough of sixty days to return 
to the United States. Such a practice was not unusual, and 
later in another war, notably after Antietam, officers and 
men alike sought permission to return home to arrange their 
affairs. Now his anxiety was for Mrs. Davis who was far 
from well, and in the interval of his absence many things on 
the plantation at Brierfield had suffered and were in need 
of his special attention. But in the two short weeks which 
his furlough gave him the remainder of the sixty days was 
taken up in travel not a great deal could be done. The 
short holiday was soon over, and by the 4th of January he 
had reached Saltillo and resumed his command. 

After Monterey and its terms of capitulation it was 
believed that Mexicans would realize the determination of 
the United States and that the war would cease. The 
Commander-in-Chief of the Mexican Army, Santa Anna, 
thought otherwise, and made the bold gesture, in statement, 
that the banks of the Sabine River would be the place where 
he would dictate terms to the enemy. 21 This same Santa 
Anna, who had occasion to remember San Jacinto and the sol- 
dier-statesman, General Sam Houston. 

The armistice did not survive the indicated eight weeks. 
The United States determined that General Taylor should 
take the offensive, and make war so effectively that Mexico 
would desire peace. So General Taylor notified Santa Anna 
that his Government abrogated the armistice and that he 
would renew hostilities on the I5th of November. He then 
occupied Saltillo, the capital of the State of Coahuila. 



74 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

It was at a hacienda called Buena Vista, about five miles 
from Saltillo, that in February of the next year Santa Anna's 
army made an attack where General Taylor's troops had the 
advantage of a defensive position. They had been materially 
reduced in number in order to supply needed troops to Gen- 
eral Scott, who had arrived in Mexico with the purpose of set- 
ting out with an expeditionary force from Vera Cruz against 
the capital, Mexico City. It was here at Buena Vista that 
Colonel Davis made the stand that has become a common- 
place of history. 

West Point had occasion to feel its training stood the test. 
Davis met on the field not only some of his classmates, but 
other graduates of the Academy. The two Johnstons, 
Bragg, Lee, Hooker, Meade, Grant, McClellan, Jackson, 
Longstreet and Hancock were in the Mexican campaign. 
And even General Taylor had to forego his customary antip- 
athy to the so-called aristocracy of the Military Academy, 
and accept the verdict that they were soldiers indeed. In his 
report of the battle of Buena Vista 22 he took the oppor- 
tunity specifically to note the Mississippi Rifles and their 
Colonel: 

March 6, 1847, 

The Mississippi Riflemen, under Colonel Davis, were 
highly conspicuous for gallantry and steadiness, and sus- 
tained throughout the engagement the reputation of veteran 
troops. Brought into action against an immensely superior 
force, they maintained themselves for a long time unsup- 
ported, and with heavy loss, and held an important part of 
the field until reinforced. 

Colonel Davis, though severely wounded, remained in 
the saddle until the close of the action. His distinguished 
coolness and gallantry, and the heavy loss of his regiment 
on this day, entitle him to the particular notice of the Gov- 
ernment. 



ON THE ROAD TO BUENA VISTA 75 

This made Davis a military hero in the South at the time, 
and it was to be a springboard for his political rise. The 
Legislatures of several States passed resolutions in praise of 
his heroism and military skill, and no commendation was 
lacking for the regiment. It was called an "heroic stand" 
these Mississippi Rifles made against a terrific charge of the 
Mexican cavalry, and they and their gallant Colonel were 
the favorite toasts not only in their own State, but in the 
country as well for some time to come. The war generally 
was popular, except in some places in New England and in 
Louisiana, and in both these instances its unpopularity was 
for trade reasons. 23 It was a great moment for the Aboli- 
tionists to get into full cry that the war with Mexico was 
"a war to strengthen the slave power." And the pack 
howled in its wonted way. 

The Colonel received an ugly wound early in the charge. 
The ball that struck his right foot had driven bits of his brass 
spur into the flesh, and the pain was exquisite. But he writes 
Mrs. Davis with a soldier's simple statement, "I was 
wounded in the right foot, and remained on the field so long 
afterward that the wound has been painful, but is by no 
means dangerous." 24t As a matter of fact, he was on crutches 
for a year or two. It was one of those spectacular things 
about him that helped to dramatize him and that suited a 
military hero. General Scott had accomplished the march to 
Mexico City by September and it was in the following Feb- 
ruary that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was concluded 
and Mexico gave up Texas to the Rio Grande boundary, and 
New Mexico, which at that time included Arizona and Upper 
California. The Gadsden purchase, which took in a further 
bit of Mexico and was made some five years later when Mr. 



76 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Davis was Secretary of War, was, in a way, another contri- 
bution of his to expansion. 

Within a few months after the battle of Buena Vista, 
which had ended what was called the Rio Grande campaign, 
the Mississippi Rifles were ordered home. The period of 
enlistment which had been for a year only was now near its 
close. Upon reaching New Orleans the regiment was mus- 
tered out, 25 but it marched to Lafayette Square to receive 
the official welcome, where the eloquence of Sargeant S. 
Prentiss was declared never to have been surpassed, and the 
wounded Colonel made one of his graceful replies. 

It was a bare four years since this soldier of Buena Vista 
had made his first political speech at Vicksburg in debate with 
this orator of the day here at New Orleans. There was now 
no debatable ground, the regiment had come back with all 
honors, and fine words could be used about its success. The 
regiment was paraded to the Place d'Armes, bright in its 
beauty of laurel and myrtle and jessamine, and cool in the 
shade of its orange and lemon trees. The river lipped along 
one side, on its way to the sea. The fine old Hotel de Ville 
with its gray stone and "deep worn door sills, 3 ' and the old 
Spanish cathedral next it pointed up the beauty of the garden 
and made the background for the gay dresses of the ladies 
waiting to throw wreaths and flowers to the home-coming 
heroes. It was the Mississippi Rifles' hour, and their 
Colonel's. 

Here at New Orleans, their Colonel, Jefferson Davis 
was to receive a new honor. President Polk wanted to recog- 
nize the services of the men who had distinguished them- 
selves in the war, and he offered Davis a Commission as 
Brigadier-General in the Volunteer Army. The President 
had been recently authorized by Congress to make such 



ON THE ROAD TO BUENA VISTA 77 

appointments. Such a bill had been introduced into the 
House before Mr. Davis had resigned his seat to go to the 
Mexican War, and he had intended to point out to his fellow 
members what he believed was an infraction of the Constitu- 
tion, but he was called away from the Capital and in his 
short absence the bill had been passed. 26 The story of de- 
clining the promotion is always given as an instance of Mr. 
Davis' strict interpretation of the Constitution and the im- 
pression is left that the President strained his authority. He 
was merely acting upon the authority given him by Mr. 
Davis* fellow Members of Congress. Davis, however, re- 
turned the Commission to the President and respectfully 
declined it. The President, in the Colonel's opinion, had 
exceeded his power. State Rights were supreme. The Con- 
stitution was very specific in Article I, Section 8, that such an 
honor could come only from the State. In offering this pro- 
motion to Colonel Davis the President put aside his own wish 
to appoint a personal friend, for he believed that failure to 
give the place to the popular Colonel "who behaved most 
gallantly at Monterey and Buena Vista" would have aroused 
general dissatisfaction. 

The following day the regiment began its triumphal way 
up the river. At last Vicksburg, and Mrs. Davis could write 
"the journey was one long ovation." Another day found 
them at Brierfield to renew the old life, where the Colonel 
could rest more easily from his wound. The active soldier 
days of Jefferson Davis were at an end. His emergence 
from the quiet ways at Brierfield was again as a politician. 



Chapter VII In ^ e Senate 

THE roses at Brierfield bloomed on, and there in the garden 
among them, and in the peaceful ways of plantation life, 
Davis, the political soldier, waited his next summons to duty. 
It came in a few months 5 when the Thirtieth Congress as- 
sembled in December, and Davis took his seat as Senator. 
The Governor of Mississippi, Albert G. Brown, had recog- 
nized the military honor Jefferson Davis had brought to the 
State in the Mexican campaign, and appointed him to fill 
the vacancy caused by the death of Senator Jesse Speight. 
The letter from the Governor which offered him the ap- 
pointment referred to the high services Jefferson Davis had 
rendered the country as a Member of the Twenty-ninth Con- 
gress. In his reply Davis is the politician: 

The approbation which you convey of my services in the 
Twenty-ninth Congress is especially pleasing, because therein 
was manifested my fixed opinion on the taxing and expend- 
ing powers of the Federal Government, my uniformly enter- 
tained and often avowed creed of strict construction of the 
Constitution of our Union. . . . You have justly antici- 
pated my views in relation to a peace with Mexico, an event 
to be desired not merely from its influence on our domestic 
policy, but also to save from monarchical alliance, or entire 
prostration, a republic confederacy, which despite our caution 
and magnanimous forbearance has forced us into war. 1 

President Polk himself could have done no better. The last 
paragraph is indeed rather reminiscent of the President's war 

message. 

78 



IN THE SENATE 79 

The Legislature of the State was proud to ratify unani- 
mously his nomination. The next stepping stone had been 
placed in the political rise of Jefferson Davis. 

It was at a time when to be in the United States Senate 
was an honor indeed; and reckoned to be one of the highest 
to be attained in the country. It was the goal for most men 
politically minded, and to achieve it at the age of thirty-nine 
was a distinction. So, once again, Jefferson Davis and his 
wife drove away when the wild geese and wild ducks were 
flying, and traveled by boat and stage coach the familiar 
route to Washington, and Brierfield was left in the burnish- 
ing sun of autumn days. The soldier was become again the 
politician. 

The tall, slight, austere man who made his entrance into 
the Senate on crutches, recalled to his colleagues that he had 
carried his principles to Mexico.-^In the debates that were to 
follow on this newly acquired land for the United States, the 
Senator from Mississippi showed he had brought them back 
with him. He was little above medium height, but he ap- 
peared as rather a tall man./ The figure once robust was now 
slim, and this leanness was in his face as well. The high 
forehead and straight nose gave a length and sharpness to 
his face, which was always marked with the intensity of his 
expression. The thin lips could be drawn into an almost 
straight line when his sensitiveness was touched./, His eyes 
were clear, for his mind was alert. His austerity kept 
warmth of expression out of them except to his family, where 
it never was lacking; He had, in general, the characteristics 
of the Norman type^ He was a distinguished figure among a 
group of distinguished men, and in time "men waited his nod 
of approval."^ Vice-President Dallas was something of a 
perfectionist and wore his spotless white cravat with the same 



8o JEFFERSON DAVIS 

care he sealed his graceful notes and presided over the Sen- 
ate. And the whole body took the matter of dress as a mark 
of respect, as did the Supreme Court Justices their gowns. 
The older members wore silk stockings and low shoes, and 
all the members some sort of full dress. 2 The Senate of the 
United States had a dignity of its own to maintain. 

The young Senator from Mississippi felt himself quite 
at home among the elder statesmen, and they very shortly 
made recognition of his coming by appointing him to the. 
Committees on Military Affairs and Pensions. He was also 
on the Library Committee. The scholarly ways of the Sen- 
ator had become known as well as his military knowledge. 
It was the scholar who advocated the plan of Monsieur 
Vattemare, who at this time was engaged in furthering an 
international Exchange of the World's Literature, a scheme 
rather similar to that of the League of Nations Committee 
on Intellectual Cooperation. , Mr. Davis was also made a 
Regent of the Smithsonian Institution, of whom three only 
are chosen from the Senate. He seems to have made little 
mark there, for the records of that Institution are singularly 
barren of any constructive contribution which he made, but 
it always claimed his interest. His real contribution was 
when in the House he voted to accept the gift of Smithson, 
the Englishman, which founded the Institution, for some of 
the Members were doubtful if the Government could receive 
funds from a foreign source. He further urged that there 
should be no restrictions on students and that all courses at 
the Institution be thrown open to them. He maintained that 
lectures he was indeed the torch bearer for this basic Ameri- 
can pastime were the greatest means of extending knowl- 
edge that had been devised in modern times, second only to 
the invention of the art of printing. 8 




DAVIS, THE SENATOR 



IN THE SENATE 81 

He was "a working member" in the Senate as he had been 
in the House, and this in spite of his health, which then and 
throughout the remainder of his life was pitifully inadequate 
for the demands upon it, A highly sensitized neurasthenic, 
he suffered again and again with neuralgia that practically 
blinded one eye. Often he would come into the Senate with 
bandaged eye, and as often would be unable to leave his 
house for weeks at a time, worn with pain. Eventually he 
lost the sight of one eye. But an indomitable will put even 
this limitation aside. It was a misfortune, it will be recalled, 
that President Wilson narrowly escaped. 

Here in the Senate as in the House, Davis' dream of 
empire went on and slavery made the links for the chain. 
Some plans of a statesman would have their beginning in his 
active mind. The means of accomplishment were never 
quite realities to him. It was why he failed as an adminis- 
trator when he became an executive. One of his early prob- 
lems was to devise a plan in palatable form that would secure 
the support of the North in rearranging the acquired land 
so as to keep the balance of power still in the hands of the 
South. South Carolina was having one of her determined 
attacks of secession and neither vision nor political expedi- 
ency made her a supporter of the Administration. Davis 
then sought Lewis Cass, whose home State, Michigan, Janus- 
like, faced "the North" and, more significantly, the North- 
west. It was a shrewd move to interest the Democracy of 
the North. In the intervals of waving his large palm-leaf 
fan, the largest Mrs. Davis said she had ever seen, Cass had 
put himself on record in the Senate as an expansionist, and 
in the following year was to receive the Democratic nomina- 
tion for President. He was called a "dough face," or "a 
Northern Man with Southern Principles," as were all North- 



82 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

ern Democrats who voted against the Wilmot Proviso. His 
principles exactly suited Mr. Davis. They were both on 
the Committee on Military Affairs, and it was Senator Cass 
who introduced the measure known as the Ten Regiments 
Bill, intended to add new regiments to the Regular Army, 
largely as a matter of security for policing the new territory 
which under the banner of "manifest destiny" was to reach to 
the Pacific. The Senator from Mississippi supported this bill 
and at this time advocated an interesting theory: All mili- 
tary matters of whatever sort should be left with the Presi- 
dent and his advisers. It was a theory he saw no reason to 
change between 1861-1865. 

But his preoccupation in the next few years till he re- 
signed from the Senate to -run for the Governorship of Mis- 
sissippi was in expansion in all its forms. A canal across 
Nicaragua, a railway to the Pacific, which should have its 
start for the coast at some point near Vicksburg and thus 
secure an outlet, in addition to the great river's way to the 
Gulf, for the development the Lower South was certain to 
have. He represented the young South and in the hopes and 
beliefs it had in the yields of its lands. "The very necessity 
of defending the United States requires that we should take 
whatsoever should be necessary always to secure the great 
point of exit and entrance to a large portion of the American 
coast/' [the Gulf of Mexico] was the way he took to state 
his view. 4 It was so he felt about the tideless sea that is the 
power of the Mississippi Valley. It was so Admiral Mahan 
thought and wrote some forty years later, when he said that 
"when Panama was opened the Mississippi Valley would, in 
case of war involving the Canal, become the base of opera- 
tions and the main effort of the country must pour down that 
valley." And more recently it was said, "The Mississippi 



IN THE SENATE 83 

Valley ... is rapidly taking its place as the seat of the 
Empire of America." 5 

The "peculiar institution" had its set-back from a Pennsyl- 
vania Congressman, and one reason at least related to the 
Mexican War was driven sharply to the fore in Congres- 
sional debates. It formed, too, the great approach to the 
fateful years of 1850 to 1860, in which Mr. Davis made one 
volte-face, which is always permissible to a politician, and 
South Carolina deferred her secession plan to the end of the 
decade. 

The vast reaches of Texas had brought new wealth to the 
slave-holding States and new hope for the extension of slave 
territory with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe 
Hidalgo. This had been disturbed, however, by the Wilmot 
Proviso, and was further disarranged when California 
brushed aside as unworthy of its man^ stature the adoles- 
cence of a territory, and declared itself a State, and ready 
to enter the Union as such. California's great year, 1849, 
that had seemed to make it the end of all the rainbows, had 
given it an amazing population who knew what they wanted, 
especially when helped to the idea by the President, Zachary 
Taylor. If "Old Rough and Ready" did not have the honor 
of taking the United States troops into the city of Mexico, 
he took the White House at Washington by the will of the 
people but held it barely fourteen months, his death occur- 
ring in July, 1 850. He it was who realized that if California 
came into the Union as a State, the territorial existence with 
its slavery problem would be avoided. California's unpar- 
donable sin was that her constitution prohibited slavery. 

The Senator from Mississippi had had his expansionist 
eye to the Northwest and made a political record in his 
speeches during the debate on admitting Oregon to the 



84 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Union, as he had when he spoke in the House on the Oregon 
boundary. He declared that no Southern Senator had ever 
asked for the introduction of slavery into Oregon. He 
added an amendment that the act should not be construed 
so as to authorize the prohibition of slavery in the territory 
while it should remain a territory, and thus Mr. Davis had 
raised his colors. The Senator from Illinois, who was to 
specialize in territory making and thereby derive a name 
for himself as "Little Giant," had previously introduced the 
bill for the organization of Oregon as a territory with that 
strange notion of self-determination in its make-up. The 
territories should decide for themselves by popular vote on 
their institutions. This gave Jefferson Davis his opportunity 
for the speech that nailed his thesis on the door of the Senate, 
and the later opportunity to introduce his amendment. 
There was a long and stirring speech upon the "peculiar 
institution." It was all indicative of the slowly rising tide 
that was to be at the full in the Thirty-first Congress with 
the impassioned plea of Henry Clay. At the moment the 
free and slave States were evenly represented in the Senate. 
There were thirty Senators from each. 6 But the little rival 
annoyances of economic gain were pointing to a greater 
future, and pride of locality began to push principles, North 
and South. 

Day after day, undaunted by time, the debates went on as 
to the disposition of New Mexico and Utah in territorial 
organization, for the California arrangement had brought the 
sectional problem to the point where disunion as a solution 
was highly praised. Here to the Southwest lay this great 
land that still carried the glamor of Spanish glory and con- 
quest. A part had been lost, in the mind of the South, when 
California prohibited slavery. The remaining portion, for 



IN THE SENATE 85 

balance of power reasons, should be open to slavery. The 
leaders of the South knew that the type of civilization to 
which they belonged would prosper there, but there was this 
point} as having been a part of Mexico, slavery did not exist 
there, since Mexico, years back, had abolished slavery. 
Therefore, the plan was being developed to make a section 
of New Mexico become a portion of Texas, and thus auto- 
matically be a slave State, one of six which the Southern 
States sculptors fancied might be carved out of the great 
territory. These, together with the activities of the Aboli- 
tionists who long since had advocated disunion, brought all 
aspects of the "peculiar institution" to the bitter climax of 
1850. 

When Congress opened in December, 1849, there was con- 
tinued interest in the Senator from Mississippi. The month 
of January was a period of advice bestowed upon Congress 
in regard to slavery, until Henry Clay introduced the famous 
bill that crystallized the form of attack 5 and days were to go 
into weeks and weeks into months while the welter of ora- 
tory settled around the admission at once of California, the 
creating of territories out of New Mexico and Utah with no 
mention of slavery, a stiffer fugitive slave law, as conciliat- 
ing the South, and the abolition of slavery in the District of 
Columbia. The Nashville Convention that was to meet to 
consolidate Southern opinion and coordinate Southern poli- 
cies 7 under the whip lash of Calhoun, adjourned with little 
more done than the dead master's indication that Davis 
would be "the future leader of the South. 53 8 

Mississippi was not ready for secession, nor were the other 
States whose delegates had met for the Convention, and 
beyond advocating the extension of the old Missouri Com- 
promise line at 363o" to the Pacific, the Convention ad- 



86 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

journed and there was no solid South for secession at that 
time. It was because such was the fact that the Compromise 
measures were passed in September and there was a lull till 
the elections the next year showed the cleavage in the South. 
The hour for the compromise of 1850 was at hand, and 
oratory reached its zenith in the Senate, with Henry Clay 
offering compromise and Calhoun hearing his last speech, 
admitting of no compromise, read by James M. Mason, later 
of Trent fame he was too feeble to deliver it, with death 
only days away and Webster making his last speech in the 
Senate that envisioned only a whole country. The Senator 
from New York, Mr. Seward, was perhaps too close to his 
colleagues for a clear perspective. He thought Calhoun the 
"most eminent of the three," but that they were all "over- 
rated men." Calhoun had undirected original eloquence, he 
thought. Clay a fiery, brilliant imagination} Webster, brute 
intellectual force} Calhoun's logic was not sound} he led and 
did not follow it/ were his estimates of these men whom he 
regarded as "over-rated." He was young at the time of the 
Compromise speeches, only in his forty-ninth year, and al- 
though he had been Governor of New York State, he had as 
yet made no reputation in Washington. Three years later 
the observing Miss Bremer noted in her letters that "the 
Senator from New York ... is a little man, not at all 
handsome. 10 He himself was acquiring a name at this 
time of "Higher Law Seward" 1X for while admitting that 
Congress could, by constitutional right, establish slavery in 
the territories, "there is a higher law than the Constitution 
which regulates our authority over the domain," he declared. 
He would have invoked it against the Fugitive Slave Bill. 
The idea and the phrase passed into history along with some 
of those of the "over-rated men." All did not then and 



IN THE SENATE 87 

have not since shared this view o Mr. Seward's in regard to 
his colleagues. A Member of Congress, who served only one 
term, "because there was no movement to reelect him, 3 ' 12 
Abraham Lincoln, thought otherwise of them. He knew and 
followed all their utterances, and some of the newcomers in 
the Senate Douglas, and this Higher Law Seward and Jef- 
ferson Davis were having things to say he wanted to read. 
Part of the time that Lincoln was in the House, Davis was 
in the Senate, but they seem never to have met. Many years 
later, just a year or two before his death in fact, the Phila- 
delphia Inquirer asked Mr. Davis to write an article on 
Lincoln, and at his own price. This he declined to do. "It is 
curious," he said to the representative of the paper, who 
sought to get the article, "that I never met Mr. Lincoln, nor 
do I remember ever seeing him. I resigned from the House 
to go to Mexico in 1846, and Mr. Lincoln did not take his 
seat in that body till later. When I returned to Washington 
in 1847, as Senator from Mississippi, I do not remember to 
have seen Mr. Lincoln whose term expired in 1849." He 
then spoke of Douglas. "Douglas," he continued, "more 
than once after his opponent had become prominent, tried to 
recall him to my memory, but he never could succeed in 
doing so." 1S Davis may have recalled, even if he never saw 
him, that Lincoln came into notice in the House as opposing 
the Mexican War. That, at the time, would have made 
Lincoln unimportant to him, if nothing else. There seems to 
be on record, however, an occasion when he could scarcely 
have failed to see Lincoln. It was shortly after Zachary 
Taylor's nomination for the presidency that a dinner was 
given to Senator Crittenden, who had resigned from the 
Senate to run for the Governorship of Kentucky on the Whig 
ticket. The invitations were issued by thirty-four Senators, 



88 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

including the names of Webster, Calhoun, and Davis, and 
some sixty-five Representatives, among whom were Toombs, 
Stephens and Lincoln. At the banquet, where every Senator 
was present and a large number of members from the House, 
many speeches were made, one of them by Lincoln, and an- 
other by Jefferson Davis, who responded to the toast to the 
American Army. 14 The banquet took place on the 7th of 
September, 18485 and "the gallant Senator from Missis- 
sippi," a war hero, and son-in-law of General Taylor's, was 
undoubtedly the one to call upon for the toast to the Army. 
But Mr. Davis was often asked to make speeches when "Old 
Rough and Ready" was to be honored. At the time of his 
inauguration Davis was the chairman of the Committee on 
Arrangements, and also was on the Senate Committee to 
notify him and the Vice-President, Millard Fillmore, of 
their elections. It might easily have slipped his memory that 
one of the speakers on this particular occasion was the then 
little-known and unimportant Illinois politician, Abraham 
Lincoln. 

Lincoln also during this term had introduced a bill "for 
the gradual and compensated extinction of slavery in the 
District of Columbia." He therefore followed with interest 
the debates in both House and Senate in the year of the 
Compromise that surged around Clay's bill, 16 with its clause 
on abolition of slaves in the District. 

It was in this same winter that Davis made his Compro- 
mise speech which was followed by Lincoln and by others 
who found in it the clear statement of the Southern position. 
It was scarcely more than a fortnight before that Calhoun's, 
Clay's and Webster's speeches had thrilled the country. It 
was the speech that is quoted to shew that in this great strug- 
gle Davis was representing the New South that is, he was a 



IN THE SENATE 89 

Secessionist, but only as a last resort, if not of the most radi- 
cal group. He had no difficulty in fixing the source of the 
trouble. It came from the North. "Northern attempts to 
degrade us in the eyes of Christendom . . . Northern or- 
ganizations formed expressly for the purpose of hostility to 
the South. . . . The South looked forward to the day when 
the power to remodel the Constitution, being possessed, will 
be exercised by the North and slavery abolished." That was 
the intention of the North and what it would do in the end. 
"The Federal Government was but the agent of all the 
States" 16 this was to be said again and again until its notion 
was lodged in the preamble of the Constitution of the Con- 
federate States, made at Montgomery, but always acceptable 
Southern doctrine. He passed to an interesting suggestion 
which was that what would secure a proper balance of power 
would be to have the North control one House of Congress 
and the South the other. He does not, however, explain how 
he would arrange the choice. He declares himself to be 
against compromise legislation in any of its forms, and it 
seems difficult to discover how what he calls this ideal divi- 
sion could have been achieved without compromise. He 
does, however, include in his speech a statement as pertinent 
to-day as when he made it nearly seventy years ago. It was 
on the proposed Fugitive Slave Law, which he said would 
come to nothing. "No act of Congress could be enforced in 
any State," he said, "if public opinion was against it." 

The Compromise Bill passed in the autumn, and a delu- 
sion was abroad in the land that sectionalism, like a fine piece 
of steel, had been bent but not broken. John Morley's book 
On Comp-omise was not written until many years later. Had 
it been, and known to the members of the Congress, there 
might have been less security in the belief that compromise 



90 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

achieved a permanent end. Davis declared himself to be no 
believer in compromise in any form. When the Compromise 
Bill was passed in September, the rumors of secession had not 
ceased. Those went on for some time longer, fanned by the 
efforts of three extremists Quitman (Davis and he had 
studied Spanish together as boys) ; Yancey, always the sure 
fire orator of the Southwest, and Rhett, with his Charleston 
Mercury to disseminate opinions, formed a partnership for 
the promotion of a Southern Rights Party, and secession was 
its foundation. And there was rumor that such a Confed- 
eracy might place Davis at the head as President. 17 The sub- 
ject was kept well in the public mind, but the Southern 
Whigs were strong enough to prevent disunion when such 
men as Toombs and Stephens and Cobb were organizing 
Union opinion through new party alignments. A Constitu- 
tional Union Party was their hope, which should "destroy 
abolitionism at the North and disunion at the South." 18 It 
was a handsome hope at least. In November of this year 
Davis made a searching reply to a group of Union gentlemen 
who asked him whether he was in favor of dissolution of the 
Union. His answer was not such as he was to make ten 
years later: 

"If any have falsely and against the evidence before 
them," he said, "attempted to fix on me the charge of wish- 
ing to dissolve the Union under existing circumstances,* I am 
sure your information and intelligence have enabled you to 
detect the hollow fraud. If any have represented me as 
seeking to establish a Southern Confederacy on the ruins of 
that which our revolutionary forefathers bequeathed to us, 
my whole life and every sentence I have uttered in public 
or private give them lie. If any have supposed gratuitously 
(they could not otherwise) that my efforts in the Senate were 



IN THE SENATE 91 

directed to the secession of Mississippi from the Union, their 
hearts must have been insensible to the obligations of honor 
and good faith which I feel are imposed upon me by the 
position of an accredited agent of the Federal Govern- 
ment." 2a The following year the Legislature of Missis- 
sippi reflected him to succeed himself for the full term. He 
had satisfied his constituents. It was the office which he pre- 
ferred to all others, 21 and he was to be six years longer at 
Washington. 

As the young Senator from Mississippi looked back over 
the year in the Senate it was with a feeling of bitter disap- 
pointment. He had opposed with all his force the Com- 
promise measures. Had President Taylor lived, his son-in- 
law's oratory together with his own doubt of the bill might 
have affected its course. Impassioned oratory had not saved 
the day. It was through these debates that the rather arro- 
gant, austere man began to show some of the qualities the 
South was to know in the years at Richmond. He recognized 
no position other than his own. And his coldness and aloof- 
ness made sharp contrast with the coarse and rather vulgar 
Foote. This little wiry man who was so quick with his fiery 
interruptions and observations could be cool and calculating 
when he sought effect, and he lost no opportunity to attack 
Davis. He was one of the few Senators Miss Bremer singled 
out in her praise of the Senate 22 which she thought com- 
prised men of greater talent than could be found in any 
other country. Then the ways of politics made a strange 
move in Mississippi, and in the following year, 1851, Foote 
became the Whig nominee for Governor, since for reasons of 
his own he had approved the Compromise measure. 

The campaign had been an interesting one and was a reflex 
of the struggle over the Compromise of 1850. It repre- 



92 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

sented a sharp cleavage on the notion of secession, the Whigs 
nominating Foote, the Unionist, and the Democrats renomi- 
nating General John A. Quitman, in part as a gesture of con- 
fidence. General Quitman had resigned as Governor to meet 
a Federal charge which implicated him with cooperating in a 
filibustering expedition to Cuba, a charge from which he was 
acquitted. He too had a Mexican War aura, and was popular 
as well, but his politics were those leading to Southern inde- 
pendence and he was nominated on a platform against the 
Compromise 5 that is, a definite States Rights and slavery 
platform. The whole country was aroused on these questions 
and Mississippi had arranged a special election for the dele- 
gates to the convention at Nashville, which was to be repre- 
sented by all the Southern States. Its purpose was to place 
Mississippi's attitude to the Union in clearly defined lines. 
How were "the encroachments from the North," about which 
General Taylor had written Davis the year before, to be met 
unless countered by self-determination in the South? In this 
election of the delegates a shifting of party alignments 
sharply indicated the trend of opinion. Disunion was not 
to be threatened but some compromise or "accommodation" 
made. The State Democracy was defeated so overwhelm- 
ingly that Quitman's defeat was sure to follow in the guber- 
natorial election and the Committee asked him to withdraw. 

When Congress adjourned in 1851 the Davises returned 
to Mississippi, stopping at Jackson, where they were the 
guests of the city, 23 and making a round of visits before 
going to Brierfield. Their popularity had never seemed 
greater. It was natural to turn to Mississippi's handsome 
Senator to help the State and ask him to replace Quitman as 
nominee for the Governorship. 

There had been murmurings of his suitability for the 



IN THE SENATE 93 

Presidency. The office of Governor made an effective asset 
towards that end. It is possible such thoughts were; in his 
own mind. A man holding the high office of Senator, just 
entering for the full term and but recently reflected under 
flattering circumstances, would scarcely put it aside for the 
Governorship of his State were there not some chance that 
the State road would merge into the National highway. 
When the Executive Committee of the party asked him to 
take General Quitman's place, he consented on the under- 
standing that he would not have to take part in an active 
campaign. He at once resigned from the Senate. His 
health, as was so often the case, was far from good, and he 
had thought himself unable to leave home. "Nevertheless," 
he says, "I soon afterward took the field in person, and 
worked earnestly until the day of election. I was defeated 5 
but the majority of more than seven thousand votes, that had 
been cast a short time before against the party with which I 
was associated, was reduced to less than one thousand." 24 It 
was thus he explained the campaign which he had carried on 
in every county in the State. That the people of the State 
should fail him was a surprise indeed especially since the 
successful candidate for the Governorship was Mississippi's 
other Senator. Davis had believed himself to be the spokes- 
man of his State, and rather arrogantly wanted it understood 
that such was the fact. But Foote on the floor of the Senate 
had told him it was quite otherwise. From the safe position 
as Chairman of the Committeee on Foreign Relations in the 
Senate, he had taunted Davis as not representing the views 
of the people of the State, and he hated Davis. Davis had 
taken his position bulwarked with his membership of the 
Committee on Military Affairs. But the enmity was one of 
long standing, dating back to an affray at a "Congressional 



94 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Mess," in Washington, which, however, did not reach the 
dignity of a duel but was settled by blows. 

Following the practice of the time, Mr. Davis upon occa- 
sions did appear as a duelist, at least as a potential duelist. 
When the debates on the Fugitive Slave Law were putting 
fire under Congress, Bissell of Illinois denied that the Mis- 
sissippi Rifles had saved the day at Buena Vista. As Colonel 
of that regiment Davis promptly demanded a retraction* 
Bissell refused, and on February 27, 1850, Davis challenged 
him, and he accepted at once. Through the good offices of 
General Taylor and Colonel Bliss, Davis' father- and 
brother-in-law, the duelists were reconciled, for it was 
found, most happily, that they were not referring to the same 
part of the battle. 25 The challenge of his later greatly 
admired Secretary of State took place when both were Sen- 
ators in 1858, and Benjamin resented a statement of Davis. 
The procedure was exemplary. Mr. Davis tore up the note 
of challenge brought by Senator Bayard of Delaware and 
rose in the Senate and made full retraction. 28 In one instance 
he had displayed physical courage, in another moral, and in 
the third it appeared to be a draw. It was all in the manner 
of the period. 

But this campaign for the Governorship closed with no 
untoward events. Davis was an interesting personality as a 
campaigner, and usually an effective one. His physical con- 
dition often appealed to his public. He had first entered the 
Senate Chamber on crutches, pale and worn from the effects 
of his wound at Buena Vista. Now he made this campaign 
with bandaged eye, unable to endure the light, suffering 
from exposure to the sun. He was a dramatic figure. But 
the sacrifice he had made was unavailing. Mississippi had 
accepted the Compromise. And Mr. Davis was again among 
his roses, "a stranded politician." 



Chapter VIII The Secretary of War 

WORKING in his garden at Brierfield among its roses and 
flowering shrubs was the occupation Davis set himself in the 
days following his defeat for the Governorship of Missis- 
sippi in 1851. Mississippi had failed him. It was, however, 
one of the two honors she ever withheld from him. 

The old plantation life became at once a solace. There 
were long days spent in riding through the dense growth of 
the live-oaks hung with moss that the light winds drifting 
through the blossom-filled air kept in slow rhythmic motion j 
days spent in directing the care of the plum and apple 
orchards or the work in the cotton fields, for the rich bottom 
lands had brought a fine yield 5 and always there was the 
garden. Here Davis and his wife passed hour after hour 
planting the seeds and shrubs that had been sent from the 
near-by towns, as well as from Europe. 1 A sense of leisured 
peace came to them in these quiet ways and the new house 
more and more meant to them home. The house was in no 
sense a mansion the New Orleans builders would seem not 
to have been either imaginative or artistic or else were curbed 
by the owner. It was rather a sublimated type of bungalow 
with wings on either side set back, and wide galleries with 
pillars, before the three fronts. But it was built for such 
cool airs as came from the river, and wide high windows 
gave on the galleries. There were white marble mantels, 
doubtless a New Orleans importation, and other handsome 
furnishings, but nothing was pretentious about the place in 
any way. The real beauty lay out towards the river, which 

95 



96 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

brought and carried by its own beauties leaving its sloughs, 
and bayous, rich havens for the blue and white heron, and 
the wild ducks, and the other creatures of these still waters. 

There were occasional visitors, the mail came only twice 
a week 5 the market town, Vicksburg, was some thirty-six 
miles away. There was little to disturb this quiet routine that 
was grateful after the strain of the Washington life and the 
fatigues of a campaign. Here for the next two years they 
had the seclusion and satisfaction of private life. A son, 
their first child, was born to them here. Brierfield had taken 
on an even happier meaning to them as home. 

But before this a Presidential campaign had come on, and 
inevitably Davis had been drawn into it. 

In the summer of 1852 he had written a letter to Senator 
James A. Pearce of Maryland which in a measure squares his 
change of view in regard to the Compromise from that of the 
previous year: 

If I know myself, you do me justice in supposing my 
efforts in the session of 1850 were directed to the mainte- 
nance of our constitutional rights as members of the Union, 
and that I did not sympathize with those who desired the 
dissolution of the Union. After my return to Mississippi in 
1851, 1 took ground against the policy of secession, and drew 
the resolution, adopted by the democratic State Rights con- 
vention of June, 1851, which declared that secession was the 
last alternative, the final remedy, and should not be resorted 
to under existing circumstances. I thought the State should 
solemnly set the seal of her disapprobation on some of the 
measures of the "Compromise." 

When a member of the United States Senate, I opposed 
them because I thought them wrong and of dangerous tend- 
ency, and also because the people in every form, and the 
legislature by resolutions of instructions, required me to 
oppose them. But indiscreet men went too fast and too far 5 



THE SECRETARY OF WAR 97 

the public became alarmed} and the reaction corresponded 
with the action, extreme in both instances. The most curious 
and suggestive feature in the case is the fact that those who 
were originally foremost in the movement were the bene- 
ficiaries of the reaction. 2 

But Davis was the politician, his State had declared itself 
for the Compromise, he found himself able to adjust his con- 
victions of the year previous, and he accepted his party's 
mandate. Then began a round of speech-making through- 
out his own and the neighboring States. 

The choice of the Democrats had fallen upon Franklin 
Pierce of New Hampshire. As a native son, the Legislature 
of New Hampshire had thought him the suitable candidate 
for the presidency, and had even proposed his name as early 
as January of that year. But it was the Virginians who 
named him at the Democratic National Convention at Balti- 
more in June, 1852, after the usual number of ballotings 
to which that city has been so accustomed in these conventions, 
and he was nominated on the thirty-fifth ballot. The more 
prominent party leaders for one reason or another were put 
aside Cass of Michigan for one; Buchanan was to go over 
for four years; Douglas had not yet declared for "popular 
sovereignty" 5 and Marcy, although well to the fore as a 
candidate, was to be passed over. The youngest man yet to 
be nominated for the high office of President was a safe 
choice, and it was a Southern delegation that led the stam- 
pede for Pierce. 

General Scott, by patient effort and peculiar insistence, 
had received the nomination of the Whig Party, and derived 
such comfort as he could between the nomination and his 
overwhelming defeat in November. All the States but four 
Massachusetts, Vermont^ Tennessee and Kentucky were 



9 8 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

carried by Pierce, and General Scott had opportunity to 
reflect that military achievement, the path of duty, did not 
inevitably secure presidential preferment, the way to glory. 
It gave him more leisure and point to carry on a sharp cor- 
respondence in regard to accounting and other military details 
with Jefferson Davis when he became Secretary of War. 

The Free-Soilers had presented their candidate for the 
second time, on the platform, "No more Slave States, no 
more Slave territories, no nationalized slavery, no national 
legislation for the extradition of slaves." But comprehensive 
as that was, out of the more than four million votes cast they 
polled only 156,000. 

The platform of the Democratic party with which Jef- 
ferson Davis allied himself stood for the Compromise and 
adopted "the principles laid down in the Kentucky and Vir- 
ginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799, and the Report of Mr. 
Madison to the Virginia Legislature in 1799." These prin- 
ciples were to be adhered to "in their obvious meaning and 
import," s not only then, but on through the fateful years to 
the breaking point in '61. They had become the breviary of 
every Southern statesman. 

The Whigs, with General Scott, supported the Compro- 
mises, and that meant the Fugitive Slave Law as well. 

The general disposition was to avoid a renewal of the 
bitter debates over the slavery question, and the little known 
Mr. Pierce, who had made an unobtrusive entrance into 
Congress both in the House and in the Senate, but had re- 
signed his seat and withdrawn to the cloistered way of law 
practice in New Hampshire, carried the Democratic party to 
a spectacular victory, and it was believed that sectional dif- 
ferences were composed. In such calm Pierce selected his 
Cabinet, and invited Davis to a place in it. Davis had made 



THE SECRETARY OF WAR 99 

many speeches throughout the campaign for Pierce. He was 
accustoming himself to speak with his party rather than on 
the view he had so recently held. 

The meeting at the "Congressional Mess" in Washington 
some years before, where Davis was a guest and Pierce a 
member, doubtless came to the President's mind. How he 
had been ready to present this handsome young Lieutenant 
Davis, as he was then, with his good manners and acceptable 
address, to the President} how Mr. Van Buren, who within a 
few short years was to be called "the Northern man with 
Southern principles," found the young Lieutenant agreeable 
and informed. The President had admired Mr. Davis' 
shoes, and was interested to learn they were made in New 
Orleans. The conversation lengthened. The President 
asked Davis to remain for breakfast. Since that time Davis 
had gained a national reputation, and President Pierce in in- 
viting him to the Cabinet was bringing a man of distinction 
into his official family. But the invitation was declined for 
"private and personal reasons." 4 The life at Brierfield at 
this time was more engrossing than politics. 

However, Davis did accept Pierce's invitation to his Inau- 
guration. Once back in the capital, the old lure of official 
life asserted itself, and Davis found he could listen recep- 
tively to Pierce's further urging that he accept the portfolio 
of Secretary of War. It was, he said, "public consideration" 
that induced him to reconsider his determination to remain in 
private life. 

Piercers Cabinet was sectionally acceptable if all of its 
members were not wholly so. William L. Marcy was given 
the Secretaryship of State, thus softening his failure to secure 
the nomination at Baltimore; the somewhat chameleon-like 
Caleb Gushing of Massachusetts was Attorney-General, and 



ioo JEFFERSON DAVIS 

is reputed to have suggested Davis to President Pierce for a 
Cabinet position. 5 Gushing too was a Mexican War veteran. 

It was soon seen that these three members, Marcy, Gushing 
and Davis, were closest to the President, and it was Davis' 
wishes that were the most likely to be carried out. The Pres- 
ident had written Davis that the politicians were trying to 
make all they could out of their friendship. But he hoped 
nothing would disturb it. In his first message to Congress 
President Pierce had referred to the laying of the sectional 
differences which had so distracted the country previous to his 
election, and said, "That this repose is to suffer no shock dur- 
ing my official term, if I have the power to avert it, those who 
placed me here may be assured." Doubtless he overlooked 
the fact that he in his sympathies was a Northern expansionist 
and that the member of his Cabinet whose counsel he most 
often sought and took, was an extreme Southern expansionist, 
and expansion if carried on in the South inevitably involved 
the question of slavery. The Secretary of War since the 
Texas days was a pronounced annexationist. If land could 
not be acquired in one direction it must be in another. Cuba, 
Central America and Mexico still presented possibilities, and 
a basis of operations to further such end must be secured. 
Seemingly the President's concurrence was gained, even at 
the risk of reviving the slavery question which he had so 
happily assured the country was in repose. General Quit- 
man was always to be relied on for a Cuban enterprise j there 
was William Walker, whose plans in Nicaragua 6 might 
easily have called forth the best efforts of our Marines, and it 
appears that all this Central American aggrandizement was 
in part the scope of empire the Secretary was designing. 

A protectorate over a part of Nicaragua 7 Davis believed 



THE SECRETARY OF WAR 101 

to be desirable, since this was the route by which the East 
and West coasts were linked before transcontinental rail- 
roads or highways existed. As a military man he saw the 
importance of maintaining this link in event of war. At 
the same time he recognized the even greater importance, the 
military necessity in fact, of the railroad from the Mississippi 
to the Pacific coast. Other routes had been under considera- 
tion, growing out of the changing conditions of the past ten 
years. The migrations that had moved in almost rhythmic 
measure across the central and northern part of the country 
had left the trails that indicated that there too transportation 
might have some special importance. Douglas was now at 
work on one of his territory-making enterprises, and the for- 
mation of Nebraska and Kansas was the outcome. Douglas, 
who for so long was believed to have the Southerners' wishes 
most at heart, had his own wishful eye upon the presidency 
for 1856. His method included going to Davis' house on a 
Sunday morning. The Secretary would be the only one to 
reach the President on that day, for Mr. Pierce had pleased a 
great part of the country as being a strict Sabbatarian, and 
even expansion plans were secular and would have to wait 
week-day consideration. This early advocate of self-deter- 
mination, Douglas, had placed in the bill a disturbing point 
that the settlers themselves should determine whether or no 
slavery should exist in the territory of Nebraska. It was 
some days later that the bill took the more startling form of 
the division of the territory into two, under the name of the 
trouble-making Kansas-Nebraska Act, and by the end of 
May, Pierce had signed it. John Brown had a territory to 
operate in, and the Emigrant Aid Society ample room for 
activity, and the Missourians a chance to repeat on election 



102 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

days. More than all else it brought slavery in all its 
reaches into the oratory of Congress again. It was perhaps 
Davis' major mistake that Sunday morning visit. 8 It 
marked also the end of his belief in Douglas. The route a 
transcontinental railroad should follow was a part of the 
problem the Kansas-Nebraska Act produced. The real estate 
interests of Chicago and the new country made claim for the 
Central route. The Secretary of War had envisioned the 
Southern route as part of the "manifest destiny," and his 
influence with his President and his party resulted in the 
$10,000,000 cash-in-hand Gadsden purchase, a section of 
Mexico that was essential to the Southern route. Congress 
authorized that the four routes under discussion should be 
surveyed. 

It was a few months after the Administration had come 
in that the President and his Secretary of War left Wash- 
ington for New York to take part in the celebration of an 
early effort in American advertising. The lesson had been 
learned, however, from England in 1851 with the opening 
of the Crystal Palace which inaugurated trade advertise- 
ment. 9 Now such an exhibition was on here, and the Presi- 
dent had come to show his support and interest in the ad- 
vancement of trade. And it gave the Secretary opportunity 
to make clear the importance of the whole principle of expan- 
sion as well as to reassure the people at large how great 
was the Constitution. There were stops made at Wilming- 
ton, Philadelphia, Trenton and Princeton, and speeches fol- 
lowed as a matter of course. At Trenton, Davis said that 
"the danger is not that by these acquisitions we shall sow the 
seeds of disunion j but . . . rather that, by an inordinate 
acquisition, we shall sow the seeds of centralization." 

At Philadelphia the speech was in the main to show how 



THE SECRETARY OF WAR 103 

the Pacific Railroad was a measure of military preparedness, 
and the importance of its construction. 

At Wilmington Davis declared: "The Constitution is our 
bond of Union. ... A strict observance of the Constitu- 
tion ... is the highest duty of an American citizen. He is 
not worthy the blessing our fathers left us who would not 
claim all the rights of that Constitution, and he is no freeman 
who would attempt to usurp privileges not conferred by it* 
It is the maintenance of that bond which is to perpetuate the 
Union forever." Then the annextionist spoke: "It was that 
happy conceit which held sovereignties together, that per- 
mitted an unlimitable extension of territory, for there is no 
expanse which may not be covered by this Union, if its dele- 
gated powers are strictly and constitutionally exercised." 10 
Empire, phrased to suit the voter, was never more per- 
suasively argued. 

The Secretary stressed in his Reports the need of proper 
protection for the Pacific Coast. The vast territory that had 
been opened up after the Mexican War had stimulated emi- 
gration which went forward on the flood, and the Secretary 
saw the importance of establishing posts well equipped with 
ordnance and ordnance stores at strategical points, not only 
across the reaches of the prairies but on the Pacific Coast as 
well. He was explicit on this point of preparedness. 

"With a water transportation of sixteen thousand miles, 
and land routes impracticable for the transportation of heavy 
supplies, it will be too late to adopt these measures when the 
communication by sea is liable to interruption; and no pru- 
dent nation should trust, in matters of such vital importance, 
to the chances of a future that no human sagacity can fore- 
see," ia> he said in his first Report. 

It so happened that this was a period of acute Anglo- 



104 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

American relations. The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty was only 
three years old, which had established a policy for Nicaragua 
and the Isthmus that England and America would "neither 
fortify or occupy or exercise any dominion over ... any 
part of Central America," and the interpretations of the 
State Department and the Foreign Office were as different 
as if the treaty were in a foreign language. England's 
English read that such requirement referred to the future, 
and America's English that England would withdraw, which 
seems indeed a strange reading for the State Department to 
have made. The situation caused the Anti-British in this 
country to feel that there might be a war and the British at 
home to feel how correct their Government was. Nothing 
happened further than for Mr. Pierce to pull an old trick out 
of his bag, the one of distracting the people from a domestic 
trouble by producing a foreign one, and it worked. The sub- 
ject of slavery was to be kept out of all discussions. But the 
Secretary of War's reference to the proper preparedness 
for "a future no human sagacity can foresee" was quite 
clear. 

Throughout his Secretaryship all the matters incident to 
expansion were stressed in one form or another. There were 
the surveys made and yet to be made of the most economical 
railroad route from the Mississippi to the Pacific. The in- 
structions included securing the minutest details in regard 
to meteorological conditions, geological and zoological data. 
In short, all matters that would give information as to sus- 
tenance for population with a view to trade routes. Davis had 
long been intimate with Professor Henry, Secretary of the 
Smithsonian Institution, who was often a guest at the Davis 
house. Davis felt at home, it seems, in scientific matters. 



THE SECRETARY OF WAR 105 

It was one of his accomplishments and he always liked to be 
with scientists. The Smithsonian experts, therefore, at his 
request were asked to make some of these comprehensive 
surveys. 

Foreseeing the time and difficulties that must be overcome 
in this railroad project, he recommended the use of camels, 
and after some difficulty with Congress secured an appropria- 
tion for the experiment. The idea of using camels for trans- 
portation purposes in the country did not originate with Mr. 
Davis. Camels had been brought out to Virginia in 1701, 
though nothing further is known about them. 12 An attempt 
had been made just a hundred years earlier than Secretary 
Davis' plan, when the Governor of North Carolina, Arthur 
Dobbs, imported camels as beasts of burden on the large tract 
of lands he owned in that State. The Army, too, had tried 
the idea. It became a pet project of Davis as Senator, and 
he went into the subject thoroughly and made a recom- 
mendation to the War Department as early as 1848 that the 
experiment be tried. So convinced was the Senator of their 
value that he made a speech on the subject in the Senate as 
a member of the Committee on Military Affairs, in 1851, 
and sought to add a rider for such expenditure in the Army 
Appropriation Bill. But it was not until March, 1855, that 
the bill became a law and a mission was sent to the East to 
buy some of the animals. 

Davis advocated Government gun factories for heavy guns 
and cannon. Congress had heretofore failed to make an 
appropriation and private concerns had handled the enter- 
prise. 

Like all War Secretaries, he recommended an increase of 
the regular standing Army. At the time it had not exceeded 



1 06 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

1 1 ,000 men. By 1 8 5 6 the strength of the Army was brought 
up to 15,562. 

Under his direction, four regiments, two of infantry and 
two of cavalry, were added to the military establishment. 
When these new cavalry regiments were formed he recalled 
the work of an engineer officer who at the time was Superin- 
tendent of the United States Military Academy, and offered 
him a commission as Lieutenant-Colonel of one of the new 
regiments. It was accepted and Colonel Robert E. Lee was 
for the first time in his military career given the direct com- 
mand of troops. 18 

As a good soldier Davis had thought for his men. In each 
of his reports he made recommendations for increased pay 
to both the officers and enlisted personnel, and suitable pen- 
sions to their widows and orphans. Unless the pay werq to 
be commensurate with that of civil life, the better class of 
citizen would not be attracted to the service. He urged 
better housing conditions for the troops. He reorganized 
and developed the Medical Corps. He advocated increasing 
the West Point training from four years to five, and was 
later, when again in the Senate, to be insistent on this subject. 
He was always an active observer of matters at West Point 
A few months after his leaving the Cabinet and return to 
the Senate he was writing his old friend President Buchanan 
about the qualifications of a Chaplain whom there was some 
thought of restoring to his detail at West Point. Davis did 
not consider him as well fitted for the post as the man who 
replaced him. "The course of studies of cadets and the little 
preliminary education expected for admission requires that 
the textbooks should have a special character. To train the 
men who are the head of armies to maintain the honor of 
the flag, and in all circumstances to uphold the Constitution, 



THE SECRETARY OF WAR 107 

requires a man above sectional prejudices and intellectually 
superior to fanaticism. 37 14 

He introduced the practice of what came to be known as 
the four year rule that is, officers might not be kept at dis- 
tant posts nor remain on duty in Washington past that period. 

The duties of the Secretary of War were varied, for they 
included direction of the public buildings as well as that of 
the military establishment. It was during this time that 
work was done on the extension of the Capitol, and Secretary 
Davis appointed Captain Meigs of the Engineers Corps to 
this duty. Both the officer and the work were acceptable to 
the Secretary and just before his retirement he wrote to 
Buchanan, then but recently back from his post in England 
and the Ostend Manifesto fiasco, that he regretted illness 
prevented Mr. Buchanan's coming to see the results of Cap- 
tain Meigs 5 work, which he praised highly. *-*- 

The first year of his Cabinet service had seen the com- 
mencement of the great viaduct which was to supply the city 
of Washington with water. This was known as "Cabin John 
Bridge." It was a fine piece of engineering, and bore the 
names of those who constructed it as well as that of the Sec- 
retary of War, under whose direction it had been built. One 
of the activities of the Secretary of the Interior, Caleb B. 
Smith, who had taken over the charge of the water works of 
Washington to relieve the War Department, in 1862, was to 
have Davis* name removed, although it had been cut deep 
into the great stones. 15 President Roosevelt, however, dur- 
ing his Administration, when various organizations of South- 
ern women urged the matter, had the name restored. The 
latter incident is the more interesting because of a sharp and 
swift interchange of letters there had been between Davis 
and Roosevelt, a few years before Davis* death: 



io8 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Beauvain [sic] Mississippi 16 

September 29, 1885. 
Mr. Theodore Roosevelt 

New York, New York. 
Sir: 

You have recently chosen publicly to associate the name of 
Benedict Arnold with that of Jefferson Davis, as the only 
American with whom the traitor Arnold need not fear com- 
parison. 

You must be ignorant indeed of American history if you 
do not know that the career of those characters might be 
aptly chosen for contrast, but not for similitude; and if so 
ignorant, the instinct of a gentleman, had you possessed it, 
must have caused you to make inquiry before uttering an 
accusation so libelous and false. 

I write you directly to repel the unproved outrage, but 
with too low an estimate of you to expect an honorable re- 
traction of your slander. 

Yours, etc., 
(Signed) JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Young Mr. Roosevelt he was in his twenty-seventh 
year, and had graduated from Harvard but five years before 
met the communication in this way: 

New York, October 8, 1885. 

Mr. Theodore Roosevelt is in receipt of a letter purport- 
ing to come from Mr. Jefferson Davis, and denying that the 
character of Mr. Davis compares unfavorably with that of 
Benedict Arnold. Assuming the letter to be genuine, Mr. 
Roosevelt has only to say that he would indeed be surprised 
to find that his views of the character of Mr. Davis did not 
differ radically from that apparently entertained in relation 
thereto by Mr. Davis himself. Mr. Roosevelt begs leave to 
add that he does not deem it necessary that there should be 
any further communication whatever between himself and 
Mr. Davis. 



THE SECRETARY OF WAR 109 

In February, 1909, however, Roosevelt did send a com- 
munication about Davis to his Secretary of War, Luke C. 
Wright: 

The White House, 17 

February 16, 1909. 
To the Secretary of War: 

Will you please direct that the name of Jefferson Davis as 
Secretary of War should be restored to the Cabin John 
Bridge? 

THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

And a constructive piece of work done during Davis' ser- 
vice as Secretary of War is now unspoiled. 

Undoubtedly Davis' outstanding contributions were the 
important surveys for the significant railroad to the Coast 
which he justified as a Government problem on the ground 
that it was a "military necessity . . . and the need of safe 
and rapid communication with the Pacific slope to secure its 
continuance as part of the Union." 1S 

Of the employment of United States troops during the 
troubles in Kansas following the passage of the Kansas- 
Nebraska Act he reports that they were used "to suppress 
insurrectionary movements by citizens of the United States 
against the organized government of the Territory. . . . 
Energy tempered with forbearance and firmness, directed by 
more than ordinary judgment, has enabled them to check 
civil strife, and to restore order and tranquillity without 
shedding one drop of blood. In aid of the civil authorities 
they have arrested violators of the peace, have expelled law- 
less bands from the country, and regularly guarding its bor- 
ders have met and disarmed hordes of men, organized, armed 
and equipped and advancing for aggressive invasion." It 



no JEFFERSON DAVIS 

had seemed rather more than this to the country, with the 
record of bitter strife and reign of terror that preceded the 
passage of the Act. It was rather a slight reference to what 
was the immediate occasion of reviving the whole slavery 
question. 

Before the end of his Cabinet office he saw the work on the 
Public Buildings well advanced. The extension of the Cap- 
itol by the addition of the new Senate Chamber and Hall of 
Representatives was at the point where he could attend to 
the decorations. The construction of the Post Office Build- 
ing, and the changes in the Treasury, were nearing comple- 
tion. But the proposed changes in the War Department 
waited for a later date. 

He followed closely military matters abroad and when- 
ever possible detailed officers of the Army to act as observers, 
and he kept himself informed on the organization of the dif- 
ferent European military establishments. The Crimean War 
was a means of enlightenment for military organization as 
well as improvement in hospitalization for the Army, and 
Davis utilized the information he obtained. He wrote un- 
officially to Buchanan, then Minister to England, introducing 
the three young officers, Colonel Delafield, Major Mordecai, 
and Lieutenant McClellan, who had been appointed by 
President Pierce, to observe operations of the armies in the 
"War of the East" as the Crimean War was called. The 
British and French Embassies here took somewhat precau- 
tionary measures, for the letters to various officials of their 
Governments which they gave to the Commission were 
sealed. Russia, Prussia and Austria complied at once with 
the request and with less formality. 19 

His intimacy with President Pierce is believed to have been 
responsible for the appointment of Buchanan as Minister to 



THE SECRETARY OF WAR m 

England. Buchanan certainly believed it to be the case for 
he was appointed and informed the day after a call upon Mr. 
Davis, which he said was undertaken really in the interest of 
his friend, Mr. Slidell, who was then a candidate for the 
Senate. 20 

And Soule's appointment to Spain seems to have been at 
Davis' instigation, and certainly John Y. Mason's was to the 
Court of Napoleon III. The Pierce and Davis families 
were very intimate, and that fact supported rumors which 
were about that Pierce depended so largely upon his Secre- 
tary of War in many matters. But how far Davis directed 
the foreign policy of the President is problematical. He was 
no friend of Marcy's, to be sure. It was at this time that the 
recall of the British Minister Crampton was asked and exe- 
quaturs to the consuls at several cities were canceled, owing 
to a disregard of the neutrality position of the United States 
in the Crimean War. Various British officials had been some- 
what over-zealous in recruiting for the British Army citizens 
of the United States. Neutrality again seemed too elusive 
for definition. 

The administration of the War Office suited nicely Davis' 
gifts and interests, and the work done by the Department 
under his leadership was constructive and enduring. En- 
thusiasts after the American manner declare him to have been 
one of the best Secretaries of War the Government ever had. 
But best is a hard-pressed word. He left his department 
better than he found it, which is praise indeed. 

The Washington of these years, unpaved, unkempt, was 
much as Charles Francis Adams found it a few years later: 
"A dirtier city materially ... it would not have been easy 
to imagine." 21 Not many people had private carriages, so 
Mr. Seward's courtesy in putting his at Davis' disposal at a 



ii2 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

time of severe weather and illness was the more marked. 
No entertainment was ever elaborate, but there was much 
friendly visiting in the easy Southern way. Even official 
Washington in the main did not live in their own houses, 
and those who did had very modest ones. The handsome 
Secretary and his accomplished wife were the exception, for 
their house had some twenty-three rooms in it and they 
entertained constantly. It was a house that Edward Everett 
had occupied, on the corner of Fourteenth and F Streets, not 
far from the White House. It made more easy the meetings 
of the President and his helpful Secretary of War. 

Whatever differences there may have been among the 
members of the Cabinet, they never rose above the surface, 
and it is the only Cabinet of the thirty Presidents which 
remained unchanged throughout an Administration. Such 
a fact was of comment then as now and the members of the 
Cabinet felt it to be so essentially due to the President him- 
self that they wrote him a letter signed by them all in 
appreciation of his service. 

Reviewing the four years he replied in part: 22 

It has concededly been a period of general prosperity} 
defalcation on the part of Federal officers has been almost 
entirely unknown} the public treasury, with more than 
$20,000,000 constantly on hand, has been freer from the 
touch of fraud or peculation} long-pending foreign questions 
have^been amicably and advantageously adjusted} valuable 
additions have been made to our already vast domain} and 
peace has been made with all the earth and without com- 
promise of right or stain upon the national honor. Whatever 
of credit pertains to the Federal Executive in the accomplish- 
ment of these results, is attributable in great measure to the 
fidelity, laborious habits and ability of the heads of the dif- 
ferent departments. ^ ^ 

FRANKLIN PIERCE 



THE SECRETARY OF WAR 113 

On the 4th of March, 1857, Davis went to take leave o 
his Chief. The President was moved at parting with this 
old friend with whom he had seen eye-to-eye so often during 
the four years. "I," he said, "can scarcely bear the parting 
from you, who have been strength and solace to me for four 
anxious years and never failed me." 

Davis had been elected again Senator from Mississippi, 
and he transferred his papers and his activities from the War 
Department to the Senate Chamber, where he soon was made 
Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs. Once more 
he was the political soldier. 



Chapter IX The Fateful Years, 1850-1860 

THE decade reaching from those Compromises of 1850, 
which were believed to have silenced slavery agitation, to the 
election of Abraham Lincoln, saw instead a fresh burgeoning 
of the whole question because of the implications of popular 
sovereignty. It was the decade of territory making, and 
territory makings were the setting-up exercises of Statehood 
which brought the question of balancing the Slave and Free 
States to a numerical nicety for political representation. The 
Kansas-Nebraska Act overthrew what had been believed to 
be those quieting Compromises. The decade saw, too, the 
passing of three great figures, Calhoun, Clay and Webster. 
It was the decade that saw a great westward expansion with 
the covered wagon as its means, making long faint lines 
across the wide reaches of the prairie. The trek now was to 
the Coast, where the lure of gold and land had set in motion 
these covered wagons. These emigrants were to protest the 
carving out by Southern political sculptors of Slave States in 
this great sweep of territory, and were to be heard from later 
in the outcome of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. But at the 
moment it was the typical frontier type seeking treasure and 
land the people who were the restless people of their gen- 
eration. It was the decade that saw a fair prosperity over- 
thrown and sink to a depression that brought on a financial 
crisis and threatened real economic disaster. 

It was a decade of reform with its accompanying hysterical 
agitation, and it quickened into life race and religious preju- 
dice and swept the forces into the deep cleavage of 1861. 

114 



THE FATEFUL YEARS, 1850-1860 115 

A great stream of immigration flowing into the country 
brought the native American sense of its own value to the 
fore, and the country saw the early efforts of "America for 
Americans" become a political party slogan. It saw the death 
of this Know-Nothing Party with its exaggerations and 
childish paraphernalia, but not before it had forty-three 
representatives in Congress and five in the Senate, and had 
cast a vote in the Presidential election of 1856 of practically 
twenty-two per cent of the entire electorate, 1 Its better ele- 
ment later found place in the new Republican party. There 
was a general break up of party-lines, while the Little Giant 
was surging up and down the country protesting the destruc- 
tion of religious liberty that the bigotry and passion of the 
Know-Nothings were trying to accomplish. It was the 
decade that saw Prohibition become one of the clamors for 
reform, and the State of Maine lead the way for the 
Eighteenth Amendment. The f anatidsm of the Prohibition- 
ists and religionists was soon making common cause with the 
Abolitionists, or, as in the South, with the pro-slavery group, 
and out of the campaigns of 1856 and 1860 emerged the 
political parties along the inevitable lines the decade had 
sharpened to the breaking point. 

It was in the jrears.1 854. to ..1856, two of the four years 
when Jefferson Davis was in the Cabinet, that the project 
of a Pacific railroad, the repeal of the Missouri Compromise 
in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Dred Scott Decision and 
Preston Brooks' caning of Charles Sumner, accomplished all 
that the most blatant jingo could have desired to start a war. 
The "peculiar institution" lay at the base of it all, and, like 
water wearing on a stone, the bitter speech that found its 
turbulent way over the business of government in the Con- 



n6 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

gress flowed on till Mr. Davis gave his order to General 
Beauregard in April, 1 8 61, to fire on Fort Sumter. Speech 
then passed into action. 

-The decade saw the Napoleon complex for Empire con- 
vert Louis Napoleon from President of the French Re- 
public to Emperor of the French, with dreams of returned 
Colonial Expansion in America. It saw England under 
Palmerston's robust premiership at seventy spread over the 
world the Civis Romanes doctrine for her nationals yet 
lose more than half her forces in the Crimea through bad 
transport service and bitter climate, while Tennyson immor- 
talized the British soldier. But in the end Sebastopol fell. 
The siege presented interesting military problems and Davis, 
then Secretary of War, sent three Army officers to the Crimea 
as observers. There was another observer of operations at 
this same time, a young Lieutenant of the Navy, David D. 
Porter, also under the direction of Secretary Davis. He and 
Major Wayne of the Quartermaster's Department had been 
detailed to go abroad to procure the camels the Secretary 
wished the army to experiment with for transport service 
in the recently acquired territory of Texas, New Mexico and 
California. There were some three thousand of these ani- 
mals then at work in the Crimean campaign, and the English 
officers who had served in India and used them there had 
great faith in them. Much could be learned of their useful- 
ness, the Secretary believed, and so Lieutenant Porter be- 
came a camel expert, but later his interest in gunboats super- 
seded that in camels. 

The end of the war and a Congress of the Powers brought 
with it the Declaration of Paris to which France and Great 
Britain were signatories, but the United States was not, and 
this Declaration had in it those two troublesome points 



THE FATEFUL YEARS, 1850-1860 117 

that privateering is abolished and that a blockade to be bind- 
ing must be effective, points that were to be brought forward 
in the then oncoming American Civil War, and whose echoes 
may still be heard. 

The decade saw Cavour, working for his dream of a 
United Italy, and Garibaldi and the Thousand achieving its 
initial step at Palermo. "Liberty does not fail those who 
are determined to have it." It was a stirring doctrine, and 
one that gathered recruits, and Cavour's dream came true. 

It was a decade that saw a Reciprocity Treaty concluded 
between Canada and the United States that was beneficial to 
both countries, and supplied a story apparently without foun- 
dation, that its passage in the United States Senate was the 
handiwork of Southern members, 2 who were fearful that 
annexation was imminent, which would, of course, increase 
the number of Northern States. This was political propa- 
ganda without doubt, only one of the many stripes being 
worked into the pattern for the crisis of 1860. 

It was the decade that saw the beginning of the relations 
between America and Japan that have made Commander 
Perry the toast of all Japanese-American functions and have 
brought out many allusions to the happy circumstance that 
the name of the ocean that separates the two countries is the 
Pacific. The first visit of the Japanese Princes to America 
was one of the events of consequence when Mr. Davis was 
Secretary of War. 

It was a decade that kept Anglo-American relations active 
as a fever chart. They were normal directly after the settle- 
ment of the Oregon boundary but rose again to a disturbing 
height over ambitions in Central America when the Clayton- 
Bulwer Treaty left some doubt as to what its exact meaning 
was. It was clear that neither Great Britain nor the United 



n8 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

States would ever have "exclusive control" to fortify the 
much talked of Nicaragua Canal. 8 The enticing word neu- 
trality was called into service and other nations were bidden 
to the feast. Some five years earlier the patient prisoner 
at Ham had been led to authorship of a pamphlet on a Ccmale 
Na$oleone de Nicaragua, almost indeed to becoming Gov- 
ernor there through the offer of Nicaragua itself. But no 
more came of it than to quicken in Napoleon Ill's brain some 
twenty years later the abortive Mexican effort towards 
French expansion in this country. 

The difficulties which the Treaty caused between England 
and America were smoothed out in a final arrangement of 
territory, but Jefferson Davis as Secretary of War was to 
make some interesting demonstrations to President Pierce 
as to the value of the Canal route, and in a speech at Mis- 
sissippi City in 1857, as a United States Senator, he ap- 
plauded the filibustering efforts of William Walker in 
Nicaragua, which he said would be of service to American 
civilization. It was the expansionist speaking, and in the 
same speech he regretted that the Black Warrior incident 
had not been handled better in order that Cuba might have 
become part of the United States. 4 But the regret, one 
fancies, was more for the failure of acquirement of the island 
than for the actual wording of the amazing Ostend Mani- 
festo, which still furnishes a unique example of diplomatic 
expression, as well as purpose. It was the period when no 
effort was lacking on the part of the Southern leaders to 
gain Cuba, and a war with Spain would have been a minor 
event in the long game of expansion with its corollary of 
slavery. 

The Black Warrior was a merchant ship under American 
registry. The Spanish had seized her off Cuba on a tech- 



THE FATEFUL YEARS, 1850-1860 119 

nicality concerning her manifest and taken the cargo of 
cotton. And Soule, the American Minister at Madrid, began 
his own spectacular demands to Spain to adjust this "insult," 
thinking them presented in a form not likely to secure them. 
The matter was now moving to the meeting at Ostend and 
the fabrication of the Manifesto with its purpose of getting 
Cuba, either by purchase or by seizure. And the London 
Times was moved to say, "The diplomacy of the United 
States is certainly a very singular profession." 5 And there 
was ended Davis' hope of securing Cuba. The mind that had 
guided the choice by the President of Soule, Mason and 
Buchanan to their respective foreign posts operated as it 
so often did results desired were very clear indeed j the 
process of getting them often required a skill and diplomacy 
which Davis never had. 

It was the decade that saw the speed, pennant won by the 
Yankee clipper ships due partly to the ingenious work of a 
young Virginian, Lieutenant Matthew Fontaine Maury, 6 
who studied ships' logs in order to learn something of ocean 
currents and trade winds and wove the mysteries into the 
Bible of Mariners, his Physical Geography of the Sea> and 
whose knowledge was used as well to lay out the route of 
the Atlantic cable. The decade saw the end of the subsidies 
for the transatlantic steamships as decreed by Congress, 7 
while the financial panic of 1857 thwarted further building 
of the clipper ships and their sails were furled by the end 
of the 'fifties. 

It saw a poor white in North Carolina write a book, whose 
title, The Impending Crisis, was to pass into the speech of the 
country along with "irrepressible conflict" and "manifest 
destiny" and be the background of Congressional vitupera- 
tion among the Southern Representatives; claiming to dem- 



120 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

onstrate the decadence of the South resulting from slavery. 

It saw a work of fiction by a woman snatch the laurels, if 
laurels they were, from organized groups of propagandists 
and frenzy a whole country. One half because they wanted 
to believe it to be true, and the other because they knew it 
was not wholly true. And both halves forgot it was fiction 
and need not necessarily be true. Debates in Congress, the 
zeal of the press, all the usual means open for bitter attack 
failed of accomplishment, until Mrs. Stowe novelized the 
emotion that was seeking a more general release. And 
Uncle Tom's Cabin aroused other countries as well. 

It saw a man of simple faith go to the gallows with 
thoughts of how beautiful the country was through which he 
was riding. A quiet had come to a soul who fancied his work 
had been done when he flicked into flame the fanatic's torch 
and hurled it, so it was believed, with a view to starting a 
servile war, that haunting dread of the South since Nat 
Turner's time. And Jefferson Davis, then United States 
Senator, was one of a committee to investigate this raid of 
John Brown, and was to hand in a majority report which 
lauded the loyalty of the slaves in that they did not respond 
to the plan, and recommended suitable legislation in the dif- 
ferent States to prevent such further acts. The report, it 
seems, caused little editorial comment. Its results were not 
so lasting as those of the act on which it was based. 

It was the decade which saw a short, stocky man, with 
"square head, steady deep-set eyes, and mouth cut straight 
and firm, in lines unsensitive and full of will . . . coarse- 
fibred, daring, ready-witted, loud, and yet prepossessing 
withal, winning friends and receiving homage," 8 be made a 
Senator from Illinois and lose the highest place the Nation 
offered, but be called "Little Giant." It saw another "tall, 



THE FATEFUL YEARS, 1850-1860 121 

rawly boned, ungainly backwoodsman" 9 be defeated as a 
Senator for Illinois but become the head of the Nation and be 
called "a rail-splitter." 

Douglas, whose efforts were forming a principle that was 
to catch the fancy of nations in 1919 in a broader application, 
that of self-determination, was applying it to the people of 
the Territories. They were to decide on their own domestic 
matters. And the corollary of self-determination in this 
case was non-intervention of Congress in the matter of 
slavery. The debates in the House and in the Senate wore 
on from January to May, until after an all-night session, 
when Douglas launched all his invective and abuse upon 
Chase and Sumner, the Senate passed the Kansas-Nebraska 
Bill, without a division. 10 The House had voted in favor of 
it by a close vote earlier, and by the end of the month Presi- 
dent Pierce had approved it and his Secretary of War, under 
whose guidance he was often thought to act, saw success for 
the Democratic party and rested in the certainty that the 
"peculiar institution" had scored a triumph. 

The joker in the bill had been the route of the railroad 
to the Pacific the Central route, which should cross Illi- 
nois and thereby help his constituents and Douglas had 
devised the self-determination plan for the organization of 
Nebraska to secure the interest and support of the Southern 
members, since the Southern route to the coast as urged 
by Secretary Davis would, were Douglas successful, not 
be accepted. The division of the territory into Kansas and 
Nebraska was part, too, of his ingenious scheme. The repeal 
of the Missouri Compromise, in definite statement, was in- 
cluded in the bill, although its implication was clear since 
Nebraska was north of the 363O / line. 

This stirred the North, which saw. slavery carried into new 



122 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

country together with excitements incident to the Fugitive 
Slave law. The day following the passage of the bill, the 
Reverend Thomas W. Higginson's expensive effort to aid 
a fugitive slave it cost the United States some $40,000 u 
to deliver him to his master roused the North still further, 
and Mr. Thayer's Emigrant Aid Society was to take on 
unusual activities in Kansas. The fruits of William Lloyd 
Garrison's twenty-five-year efforts in propaganda by word 
were to be galvanized into action in Kansas, and John Brown 
engaged in some successful rifle-practice on the Pottawat- 
omie. The Aid Society found that the emigrants, whose 
wanderings to the new territory they had financed, were set 
upon by the Missourians because they held their claim to be 
that of first occupation. They had their slaves with them, 
too, the Missourians. The moment had come to arm these 
settlers, so Mr. Thayer's company thought, and sending arms 
to the homesteaders who were under their protection became 
the Society's imagined duty. It was creating such a back- 
ground that led to the riots over the Lecompton Constitu- 
tion and that made Kansas the field of battle over the ques- 
tion whether slavery should be extended anywhere on this 
continent. 

One of the early speeches Jefferson Davis made after his 
return to the Senate from his Cabinet position was on the 
Lecompton Bill. He was neither extreme nor truculent but 
bore himself "with decorum and moderation." 12 "The 
whole charge is, and has been, that we seek to extend our 
own institutions into the common territory of the United 
States. Well and wisely has the President of the United 
States pointed to that common territory as the joint posses- 
sion of the country," he told the Senate. 

Buchanan, who h^d recommended the adoption of the 



THE FATEFUL YEARS, 1850-1860 123 

Lecompton Constitution, had put himself on record in a 
special message to Congress in which he declared: 

"It has been solemnly adjudged by the highest tribunal 
known to our laws that slavery exists in Kansas by virtue of 
the Constitution of the United States. Kansas is, therefore, 
at this moment as much a Slave State as Georgia, or South 
Carolina." 1S This would undoubtedly have been true had 
the Lecompton Constitution, been put into force with this 
section, "Free negroes shall not be permitted to live in this 
State under any circumstances." 

The excitements incident to the settlers, both those from 
the South who came not so well aided and those from the 
North who were the beneficiaries of the Emigrant Aid Soci- 
ety, had kept the State of Kansas bleeding Kansas indeed. 
The bill prohibiting slavery, by which Kansas entered the 
Union, was finally passed in January, 1861, and was ratified 
by popular vote. The disturbances incident to the Topeka 
and the Lecompton bills were at rest, but that came when 
Buchanan was no longer President. The entrance of Kansas 
into the Union as a Free State was a factor in the oncoming 
war. There was to be ample matter for discussion in Con- 
gress, and the situation had led to the formation of a new 
political party. 

The mass meeting at Ripon, Wisconsin, in February, 1 854, 
had declared such a party should be formed with the name 
Republican if the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed, and with its 
passage, the State Convention at Jackson, Michigan, in the 
following July confirmed the idea. The first national con- 
vention in June, 1856, in Philadelphia, saw the machinery 
set in motion for the organization that brought about, four 
years later, the election of one whom the South said was a 
sectional President, whose election could only mean wan 



124 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

This was Abraham Lincoln, who, Woodrow Wilson said, 
understood the South as no other Northern man of his gen- 
eration did. "He respected, because he comprehended, 
though he could not hold, its view of the Constitution; he 
appreciated the inexorable compulsions of its past in respect 
of slavery; he would have secured it once more, and speedily 
if possible, in its right to self-government, when the fight 
was fought out. To the Eastern politicians he seemed like 
an accident; but to history he must seem like a providence." 14 
In the first campaign of its existence, this new party had* a 
picturesque but not successful candidate, and the robustness 
of John C. Fremont with his politico-military record in Cali- 
fornia, and the slogan, "Free soil, free speech and Fremont," 
were not winning enough, although they brought together 
many Northern and Northwestern voters in the vain hope of 
gaining a majority over Buchanan whom the South voted for 
with enthusiasm, and who carried his own State, Pennsyl- 
vania, and Indiana and Illinois as well. The new party's 
candidate polled 1,341,264 votes as against the 2,712,703 
which Mr. Buchanan and Fillmore together mustered, but 
Mr. Buchanan went to the White House, where he brought 
the good will of the South, for shortly before election day 
he had said, "All they [the Southern people] ask for is to be 
let alone." 15 Before he left Washington he was to be as 
much disliked by the South as he had been admired. The 
man who succeeded him was the first President elected by this 
new party. 

It was the decade that saw Davis at his zenith in political 
power. In the first part of it he was Davis the secessionist, 
until the temporary repose of the Compromise stilled the 
slavery matter, and when, some of the Southern writers feel, 
the South had far better chance to succeed than at the end of 




FACSIMI-LE OF THE NOTES OF THE SPEECH AT FANEUIL HALL, 

OCTOBER, 1858 










f- 



x* -a 



cr 
& / 



MA*+ 
A 






THE FATEFUL YEARS, 1850-1860 125 

the decade. He was no believer in the Fugitive Slave Act, 
as was the case with many in the Lower South 5 16 but his 
mind was working toward the plans he furthered in the 
middle part when as Secretary of War he had even greater 
political strength in the interesting task of directing the mind 
of President Pierce to the expansion plans of the Southern 
leaders in the Union itself as well as in the Caribbean. Cuba 
was indeed the l?earl of the Antilles, but not above price. 
And the end of the decade, when he returned to the Senate 
and his speeches became those of a special pleader serving the 
squirearchy of the South, though not always in the radical 
form many wanted. 

The winter of 1858 and '59 found him critically ill again 
with long absences from the Senate Chamber, but Mr. 
Seward, coming often enough to see him, kept him informed 
of the political scoring the Senators North and South were 
making. And Mr. Seward's "irrepressible conflict" speech 
was months old. 

The summer of 1 8 58 the family went North to Maine. It 
was a measure of health, hut the politicians made it a measure 
of politics. And he undoubtedly used it to measure his 
acceptability to Northern Democrats as a Presidential candi- 
date. In the course of his stay Davis made the speeches that 
gave some satisfaction to the Democrats of the North, the 
one at Portland where he was serenaded, and in his acknowl- 
edgment of this courtesy outlined his strong sentiments for 
the Union, and was skillful in avoiding provocative matter. 
In Boston at Faneuil Hall he lingered upon States' Rights 
Democracy which he saw to be acceptable in its meaning to 
the Democracy of the North. He faced the popular sov- 
ereignty principle and discovered in it what was disturbing 
the peace, because while States' Rights Democrats were in 



126 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

the North, they were not to be found in the Halls of Con- 
gress. To his own constituents and to many others in the 
South, the speeches did not give satisfaction. Davis had, 
they felt, remained too long in the North. When he was 
on his way to Portland by boat it chanced to be the Fourth 
of July, and as part of the celebration he was asked to make 
a speech. "Jefferson Davis at Sea" was the witty caption a 
Southern paper carried in quoting the speech. The time had 
now come when sharp, crisp statement of alignment was what 
the people wanted. And so it was after the New England 
speeches as well as one made in New York that Davis, to 
the Lower South at least, seemed to have trimmed his views 
for his audiences. 

He was building in part the foundation for his candidacy 
as President, but he soon proved to be building the structure 
that elected Abraham Lincoln. Davis too had his debates 
with Douglas, but they were in the Senate and not at the 
hustings, and the underlying purpose was to defeat Douglas' 
nomination for the Presidency. Popular sovereignty was 
more acceptable than the bid of the Lower South to have 
slavery protected in the territories, and Davis went down to 
defeat at Charleston when the convention was broken up in 
April, and met later in Baltimore and nominated Douglas. 
In June of 1860, Davis was writing of Douglas to his old 
friend, Franklin Pierce: "If our little grog-drinking, elec- 
tioneering demagogue can destroy our hopes, it must be that 
we have been doomed to destruction." 17 

It was in the autumn after Buchanan's inauguration that 
Davis made the speech at Mississippi City in which he stated 
unequivocally his attitude on slavery. "African slavery," he 
said, "as it exists in the United States, is a moral, social and 



THE FATEFUL YEARS, 1850-1860 127 

political blessing." He believed it to be the duty of the 
national Government to protect this political blessing in the 
Territories as it did any other sort of property. The Kansas- 
Nebraska Act and the more recent Dred Scott Decision of the 
Supreme Court the two great forces to disturb the peace 
of the decade were no doubt in his mind. It was in the 
next four years of his life that as United States Senator he 
sought to build up and sustain the contentions of this speech. 

What had become of the lost leadership of the South? 
Able, discerning at times, but not with long vision, Davis 
sought to hold the fury that now moved so fast. At no time 
is he more interesting than in these years when he was seeking 
to hold off the dis-union sentiment in the South, and at the 
same time to find the means to thwart the gaining power of 
the North. He courted theory, but was vague when he 
sought to move it into action. But there were economic 
forces that were moving as fast as the rising tide of seces- 
sion. Leadership of the individualist was beginning to give 
way to the mechanism that industry was creating, and a form 
of labor .had to go down in the crash because the Iron Age 
was stronger. 

It was the decade that saw the end of feudalism. 

It saw the end of the Old South in that rare way of living 
that had there been no war could scarcely have survived the 
mechanistic era. But that it passed in the din of guns and 
high resolves and ideas of sectionalism which could not be 
accommodated, make it one of the most tragic fragments 
of history. 



Chapter X Change of Capitals 

THE winter of 1860 and '61 in Washington found its tone 
from the result of the election on November 6. A Republi- 
can President had been elected, a sectional President, the 
Southern papers said, and that inevitably meant war. There 
had to be some delay before there could be much editorial 
comment about it, for the returns were slow in being assem- 
bled. On November 8 the Richmond Dispatch said there 
was enough to make it certain that Lincoln had been elected, 
and declared it to be the "most deplorable event that has hap- 
pened in the history of the country. The Union may be pre- 
served in spite of it 5 but we are prepared to expect trouble." 
The following day it commented on the fact that fortunately 
in no instance up to this time had any of the eighteen Presi- 
dents "been chosen by the Southern or Northern States ex- 
clusively." x The election produced an outburst on the part 
of the South, and political affairs both North and South be- 
came news. 

Through the summer there had been little political matter 
published. A good deal of space had been given to Mr. 
Everett's Fourth of July speech which contained a defense 
of popular government against the assaults upon it that Lord 
Grey had made in the House of Lords. That eminent Peer 
was at work, naturally, upon protests against the extension 
of the franchise. England had to wait seven years longer 
for that, and Lord Grey cited the United States as an example 
of failure. Mr. Everett's, "No, the Government of the 

United States is not a failure. It is the most marvelous suc- 

128 



CHANGE OF CAPITALS 129 

cess of which history makes mention," was a doubtful reply 
at the moment. But both England and he had to learn that 
it could survive even so appalling a thing as a civil war. 
The papers were filled with accounts of the Prince of Wales' 
visit, and with reports that restaurant cars were being intro- 
duced into Pennsylvania} 2 that an English Earl "had built a 
carriage which is propelled by steam upon an ordinary turn- 
pike road," in which he traveled some eighty miles, making 
about eighteen miles an hour} 8 and that the most famous 
thing in America was "Dixie," which could be heard "in the 
gulches of California and the forests of Aroostook." But of 
political matters or of the gravity of the disunion rumblings 
there was singularly little mention. There was one editorial 
in August against disunion and pointing out the horrors of 
civil war. 4 It was foreign news in the main that seemed of 
consequence and more space was given to it. 

But the Friday following the election of Mr. Lincoln, 
domestic matters became the real news. A President had 
been elected backed by a party which had pronounced against 
the extension of slavery into the Territories, and had had a 
good deal to say about local option on that subject in the 
regions where organization was still lacking. He was not 
desirous of interfering in States where the "political bless- 
ing" of slavery, as Mr. Davis called it, existed. And had 
Mr. Lincoln's popular vote been the deciding one rather 
than that of the Electoral College, Douglas would have 
seemed not so far behind and the Republican vote not so 
sectional. The Democratic split, however, gave Brecken- 
ridge and Bell a chance to draw away a possible majority for 
Douglas, and in that election was seen one significant reason 
for the failure of the Confederacy. The States of the South 
could not agree among themselves as to how best to serve 



130 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

their own need. The Lower South was determined upon 
Secession because slavery was the great economic factor and 
the new party alignments threatened the "peculiar institu- 
tion." Those States therefore withdrew from the Demo- 
cratic Convention, and Breckenridge became their candidate 
with the extension of slavery and the annexation of Cuba 5 
as a telling platform. Had the South not been divided, 
the new young Republican party but four years old could 
not have elected a President. But the campaign raged on 
with the usual slogans, and the small farmers of the North- 
west whose connection with Northern Europe and Scandi- 
navia had taught them faith in men of simple beginnings and 
ways of life rather than those of a landed aristocracy, made 
Lincoln the man of their choice, and the returns on Novem- 
ber 6 y 1860, were, in a deciding part, the record of their 
belief. 

The South now had proof in hand that sectionalism was to 
destroy the Union, and South Carolina lost no time in accom- 
plishing her frequently threatened secession. Within six 
weeks her summoned convention had promised her "an Inde- 
pendent Commonwealth." 6 The simple declaration that 
"the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other 
States, under the name of the 'United States of America,' is 
hereby dissolved," had attained this end. Mass meetings 
were held in many places to consider what should be done, 
and in the States where the Legislatures were in session, the * 
business of the day was what form retaliation on Northern 
aggression should take. When the South read five months 
later this so-called sectional President's statement, "I have 
no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institu- 
tion of slavery. I believe I have no lawful right to do so and 
I have no inclination to do so/' the South had no mind to 



CHANGE OF CAPITALS 131 

heed the statement. The group of gentlemen at Mont- 
gomery who had paid the telegraph tolls in order to receive 
the Inaugural speech as soon as possible knew the temper of 
their people and knew too the failure of the Crittenden Reso- 
lutions. William Lloyd Garrison, and all the Abolitionists, 
had successfully brought the country to the edge of Civil 
War, and Mr. Garrison put himself on record in support of 
secession by counseling "letting the South go in peace" as 
being one way to be rid of that section of the country and its 
problems, 7 a refrain of General Scott's which was later bor- 
rowed by Horace Greeley and softened into <r Wayward 
Sisters, depart in peace.' 3 In Georgia within little more than 
a week of the election, Mr. Toombs was addressing by invi- 
tation the Legislature and telling the people of the State 
what awaited them after the 4th of March. (< Withdraw 
your sons from the Army, the Navy and every department of 
the Federal public service. Keep your own taxes in your 
own coffers buy arms with them and throw the bloody spear 
into this den of incendiaries and assassins and let God defend 
the right. . . . Nothing but ruin will follow delay. . . . 
Twenty years of labor and toil and taxes all expended upon 
preparation would not make up for the advantage your 
enemies would gain if the rising sun on the fifth of March 
should find you in the Union. Then strike, strike while it is 
yet time." 8 

The man who was to be the Vice-President of the Con- 
federacy, Stephens, the following night in the same hall 
placed himself on record as believing that secession was not 
the wisest way to right existing wrongs. He thought the 
State had power to secede, but urged that it should be done 
through the calling of a convention. The Milledgeville 
Convention of January i6th was the result. But by that 



I 3 2 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

time the States of Mississippi, Florida and Alabama had 
seceded. 

When Congress assembled at Washington on December 4, 
the capital was well aware of the tensity of the feeling 
which sectionalism had reached. Miss Harriet Lane was 
dispensing hospitality at the White House on behalf of her 
Sabbatarian uncle, and doing it, it seems, with a good deal of 
natural grace. She had had London experience when her 
uncle was Minister to England, but social experience of any 
sort seemed scarcely necessary to meet the requirements of 
the White House entertainments. The American people 
found no rule or regulation impeding their way when they 
went to the Executive Mansion, and no protocol to prescribe 
their dress. Men and women alike were costumed as taste 
and wardrobe allowed. Democracy was indeed triumphant. 
Washington itself was wholly unattractive. The houses and 
hotels which lined Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol 
to the Treasury were ugly, unkempt and slovenly, and the 
ailanthus trees that bordered the Avenue failed to conceal 
this motley collection of buildings. The democracy of the 
White House was found among those who made up the 
society of the capital, for there were none of the more ordi- 
nary elegances that belong to civilized life. Luxuries were 
unknown. The city alternated between mud and dust. 
Socially, Charles Francis Adams, who was a visitor that win- 
ter, found the capital "quite innocent of style," but he also 
found that Davis impressed him. more favorably than any 
other Southern man he met. "I instantly liked himj and 
regret extremely that it was not my good fortune, then or 
later, to see more of him." 9 He recalled also that Davis, 
perhaps more than any other public man of the time, was the 
most outspoken in his appreciation of Mr. Adams' father. 



CHANGE OF CAPITALS 133 

There had been that time when Davis had made his first 
speech in Congress, and when John Quincy Adams had been 
noted to leave his seat and come nearer to the speaker that 
he might the more easily hear this newcomer in the House, 
and at the conclusion was heard to say that that young man 
would be heard from. 

At this time the unfinished dome of the Capitol was but- 
tressed with scaffolding and cranes to work for its comple- 
tion. In this unattractive and unfinished city, the tone was 
Southern in sympathy and expression. With the assembling 
of Congress this Southern sympathy was to be more out- 
spoken. But through the winter there began to be restraint, 
and in time avoidance of the great subject between men of 
the two sections when the occasion was social. The cleavage 
had come, and it was widened with the days. A week after 
both Houses were seated, nearly half of the Southern Sen- 
ators and Representatives issued an Address to their con- 
stituents in which they said that "the sole and primary aim 
of each slave-holding State ought to be its speedy and abso- 
lute separation from an unnatural and hostile Union." Mr. 
Davis and Mr. Benjamin had signed the document. A few 
days later the Committee of Thirteen, whose task was to find 
some escape from the impasse, met, and Mr. Davis was one 
of the group. For whatever reason, political or personal, he 
did not wish to serve but was persuaded to do so. The fact 
of his having signed the Address of the week before indicated 
that he thought it impossible to make any adjustment within 
the Union. The news of South Carolina's secession was an 
index of opinion. The Committee had that to reckon with, 
as well as the Crittenden Resolutions which recalled the 
Great Compromise of 1850. The Senator from Kentucky 
had offered a Constitutional Amendment thought to save 



134 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

the Union: That magical line of 363o' should be continued 
to the Pacific and that would settle the question of slavery 
in the territories. It was this point where there was to be no 
compromise. Would future acquisition South of the line be 
"made safe for slavery"? The territorial question was, as 
Jefferson Davis said, the crux of the matter. It rested with 
a majority of the Republican members of the Committee, 
and they could not agree. 

The amendment that did finally pass both Houses and 
was submitted to the States for ratification was one which 
made action by Congress impossible within a State, either to 
abolish or to interfere with slavery. Before the ratification 
had gone far the firing on Sumter made the Amendment 
unimportant and it lapsed. When the Thirteenth Amend- 
ment became a part of the Constitution it declared that 
slavery had been abolished in the United States. 10 

In the opinion of some Southern writers the passage of the 
Crittenden Compromise might have averted the Civil War. 
It is all linked with the usual after-war inquiry of who began 
the war? It will invite the search of the revisionists of his- 
tory and the answer will be that, a$ geologists explain an 
earthquake by a "fault" in the earth, so must historians 
find a "fault" that can overturn a civilization. That line 
of 363o' continued to the Pacific would scarcely have 
averted it. 

The President-elect was sought out in his Springfield 
home by Thurlow Weed, sent by Seward, a member of the 
Committee, to learn what his view would be. But he had 
already committed himself to no compromise of any sort on 
slavery extension, and had written to a Republican Congress- 
man "there is no possible compromise upon it but which puts 
us under again and leaves us all our work to do over again. 



CHANGE OF CAPITALS 135 

... On that point hold firm, as with a chain of steel." u 
The clamors of war were too loud. Even the distracted 
Mr. Buchanan, who found difficulty in making decisions even 
after he had opportunity to say his prayers, a ritual he prac- 
ticed always when an affair of state was to be considered, 
knew that war was inevitable. He had learned much from 
Mr. Davis during his administration. Two members of the 
Cabinet were anxious that he should learn more before com- 
pleting his Message to Congress and urged Mr. Davis to 
come to Washington at once. This seems to have been an 
inspirational summons, for upon arriving and paying his 
respects to the President, Davis learned that the Message was 
in rough draft, "still open to revision and amendment." Mr. 
Buchanan wanted to read it to him. The modifications Mr. 
Davis suggested were accepted in their entirety, but between 
that agreeable meeting and the delivery of the Message, 
some other voice was listened to, and Mr. Davis found him- 
self obliged on the floor of the Senate to criticize the changes 
in the paper. He felt, however, that the Federal Gov- 
ernment would have done well to accept Mr. Buchanan's 
views on the Constitution. Mr. Buchanan denied the right 
of secession, but his timid habit of thought and action made 
him fearful of taking steps to oppose it. 12 He had ceased to 
further the interests of the South. 

The moment had come when Davis was to reverse all he 
had said against "compromise in any form." Even Douglas 
in the Senate said that he was able to confirm the statement 
that Davis, when on the Committee of Thirteen, was ready 
to compromise on the Crittenden Resolution. And he said 
this was true of Toombs as well. 13 

Davis was, however, the political soldier, and as such took 
the military attitude of preparedness in matters of state. At 



136 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

the time of the November election he was at Brierfield, and 
in a few days was writing Mr. Rhett, the editor of the Mer- 
cury, at Charleston, in reply to certain inquiries he had re- 
ceived from him. Were South Carolina to secede, and she 
alone, he told Mr. Rhett, he did not think the position of 
Mississippi would be changed by that fact. "A powerful 
obstacle to the separate action of Mississippi is the want of a 
port . . . that her trade, being still conducted through the 
ports of the Union, her revenue would be diverted from her 
own support to that of a foreign government." 14 Mr. Davis 
had already envisaged a vocabulary at least in the event of 
secession. His next point was quite sound on the strategic 
importance of cooperation. That is, Georgia must go to con- 
nect South Carolina with Alabama, and with this done Mis- 
sissippi's coSperation would follow. On one other point he 
was more explicit. If South Carolina were to secede and 
there be "any attempt to coerce her back into the Union, that 
act of usurpation, folly and wickedness would enlist every 
true Southern man for her defense." A further paragraph 
puts in simple statement that a Southern Confederacy was 
in the making. "The planting States," he writes, "have a 
common interest of such magnitude that their union, sooner 
or later, for the protection of that interest is certain." He 
has written the letter, he adds, with the freedom and care- 
lessness of private correspondence. In a month's time he had 
placed his name in the circular of the Southern Address, and 
was to learn that his influence with the weak President 
Buchanan was superseded. 

The Christmas Eve move of Major Robert Anderson 
from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter had consequences when 
the Commissioners from South Carolina arrived in Washing- 
ton to inquire into the relations between the independent 



CHANGE OF CAPITALS 137 

Commonwealth of South Carolina and the United States 
Government. There were the questions in regard to the 
forts within the State, the matter of customs and other details 
upon which the Commissioners wished to be informed. 

They had left Charleston before Major Anderson and his 
small body of troops had moved over to Sumter, and they 
had not been received by Buchanan when the news came of 
the transfer. When word was brought to Davis at the Senate 
of the transfer to Sumter, he at once went to the White 
House, accompanied by Senator R. M. T. Hunter of Vir- 
ginia. Buchanan, painfully enough, was obliged to make a 
decision. The Southern Senators were insistent that Major 
Anderson should be ordered back to Fort Moultrie. The 
President's decision was that he could not decide. He would 
have to consult with his Cabinet. When the South Caro- 
lina Commissioners had their interview the next day with 
Buchanan they were fortified with the statement that earlier 
in the month the President had given his assurance to the 
South Carolina Members of Congress that no aid or reen- 
forcements would be sent to Charleston Harbor, a circum- 
stance which led his Secretary of State, Cass, to resign. The 
interview took the form of demanding that the President 
order Major Anderson back to Fort Moultrie. Buchanan 
desired time to think upon this. The ritual of his prayers 
was essential in so great an affair of state. Guidance in this 
instance led to acting on the advice of the Union members of 
his Cabinet, and Davis, who was regarded somewhat as 
member without portfolio, learned his advice would not 
be taken. 

He was not without resources to meet this break with the 
President. The man who was accustomed to take counsel of 
himself f ound a way to make clear to the cpuntry the experi- 



138 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

ence of the Southern Commissioners. What Davis called the 
"timid vacillation" of Buchanan was succeeded by a tem- 
porary firmness, and he declined to receive not only the Com- 
missioners but their final communication. At the request of 
Congress Buchanan sent the correspondence to the House 
with a message. The legislative body was to be informed 
fully of the proceedings. When it was read in the Senate, 
the last communication was omitted. The President had 
declined to receive it and therefore it could not be part of 
the papers he sent. But Davis had broken with his friend, 
the President, and he chose a method that would give the 
fact thorough publicity. The communication of the Southern 
Commissioners, which the President had declined to receive, 
he insisted upon having incorporated into the proceedings of 
the day and thereby spread on the Records of Congress. The 
scene was a stirring one. The clerk was asked to read the 
certified copy of the communication, which Davis had pro- 
vided. Objection was made on the ground that it was a 
"treasonable document," but in the end the Senator from 
Mississippi triumphed, and the letter became a part of the 
Congressional record. 

The day, January 9, 1861, was an eventful one. Davis 
was about to step into his carriage X5 on the way to the Senate 
to hear the President's Message, and, as it turned out, to 
accomplish this matter of the letter, when a telegraphic dis- 
patch was handed to him that the Star of the West > an un- 
armed steamer which had gone to Charleston with supplies, 
had been fired upon from the Charleston battery, and put 
out to sea, her mission unfilled. Jacob Thompson, the one 
remaining Southern member of Buchanan's Cabinet, had 
allowed the coming of the Star of the West to be a news 
item 16 in Charleston. 



CHANGE OF CAPITALS 139 

It had been some time since Davis had been to the Execu- 
tive Mansion. The relations between his old friend and 
himself were strained. He, however, went at once to make 
a last appeal to take such measures as he said might "avert 
the impending calamity." 1T Mr. Buchanan was in a new 
role. He was firm, and Davis says the result was even more 
unsatisfactory than heretofore. It was the same day, too, 
in which Mississippi had seceded, but as Davis had not been 
informed officially, he saw no reason to withdraw from the 
Senate until such time as he should be informed. It was a 
charge brought against him that he remained after his 
State's withdrawal. But other Senators did it as well. It 
made the conspiracy rumor plausible. He was therefore able 
the following day to make his speech on the President's Mes- 
sage, which is more truly that of the politician than the 
statesman. There were flashes in it, as when he could turn 
a point on his old enemy Andrew Johnson, who he thought 
had presented his views "vaguely and confusedly' 1 in regard 
to the coercion of a State. Mr. Johnson at the moment had 
been citing Washington's use of the military power in an 
insurrection in Pennsylvania against a portion of the people 
of a State, so if need be why not against a whole State? This 
was touching on Davis's special province, anything pertain- 
ing to the military. In Washington's use it was not the 
coercion of a State. It was aiding the State, and in the 
manner provided by the Constitution. He then passed to 
Johnson's statement that though his State has just cause of 
complaint, "we are for remaining in the Union and fighting 
the battle like men." Davis is at a loss to understand that. 
"How are we to fight in the Union?" he asks. "We take an 
oath of office to maintain the Constitution of the United 
States. The Constitution of the United States was formed 



140 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

for domestic tranquillity; and how, then, are we to fight 
in the Union?" 1S This was the argument of neither a states- 
man nor a good politician. Davis had already had word of 
Mississippi's secession. These were questions he raised for 
the last time. 

He was about to make a change of capitals. But before 
he made the change he had been hearing that he was liable 
to arrest by the Federal authorities, he and the other South- 
ern members of the Senate. He was to hear too that the 
"conspiracy" of secession which was charged against him on 
the wings of rumor that were fluttering about had accused 
him of having exerted every possible influence for two years 
past to rouse the cadets at West Point to sympathy with the 
Southern view, and so make them ready for the Southern 
Army his sense of preparedness was^ envisioning. But the 
futile talk of arrest thinned itself out in rumor. 

It had been the great year of his life. He had been recog- 
nized as the leader in the Senate of the Southern group. 
Benjamin, whose intellect and method Davis had so ad- 
mired} Slidell, a former law associate of Mr. Benjamin's; 
these and others who were to have a share in the new political 
group soon to be formed at Montgomery were ready to give 
the Senator from Mississippi all praise in the work of the 
disturbed session of this winter of 1 860-61. The year had 
seen him considered as the Democratic nominee for the Presi- 
dency of the United States, and within a twelvemonth be 
made the President of the Confederate States. Great as his 
ambition was, its achievement must have seemed something 
less than reality to him. The man who was to be notified 
that he had been chosen as President of the new Confederacy 
owed it not altogether to his leadership in the Senate nor to 
his popularity throughout the South, but, as we shall see, to 



CHANGE OF CAPITALS 141 

political management in a group of men who were speeding 
to accomplishment a revolutionary measure, and who elimi- 
nated one man after another perhaps better qualified for the 
great adventure than the man whose reputation lay as a 
political soldier. 

In time official information had reached Jefferson Davis 
that by Mississippi's withdrawal he had ceased to be a Sen- 
ator of the United States. He wanted to come once more 
among his associates and take his formal leave. 

He had been critically ill, so ill that it was gravely doubt- 
ful whether he would be able to be present and say his fare- 
well to the Senate. His will was great, but there was as well 
the curiously compensating strength of the highly sensitized 
egoist, a defense reaction physically as well as mentally. He 
was leaving the office of United States Senator, the one he 
had said he preferred to all others, but that was in other days. 

The Senate Chamber was crowded with the many South- 
ern sympathizers, for it was known that Davis would make 
his vale. The people had been coming since nine o'clock. 
Mrs. Davis had sent a servant as early as seven o'clock to 
keep a place for her. There was scarcely standing room. 
Ladies sat on the floor against the wall, in the cloak room, 
along the sofas, in the passages. The crowd was so great 
that Davis himself had great difficulty in reaching his seat. 

When he rose to speak, the man who was like Calhoun 
denied his master. Nullification was no part of his, Davis' 
creed. Nullification and Secession were indeed antagonistic 
principles. He did not advocate that a State should remain 
in the Union and then disregard its constitutional obligations 
by nullifying its law. "Secession belongs to a different class 
of remedies. It is to be justified upon the basis that the 
States are sovereign. . . ." 19 The man whom Calhoun had 



142 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

said would be the new leader of the South thus stated his 
theme. Applause broke in again and again. The Vice- 
President called for order. The voice that always was 
likened to some musical form rose and fell at its owner's 
will upon the expectant people till they finally heard: . . . 
"I go hence unencumbered by the remembrance of any injury 
received, and by having discharged the duty of making 
the only reparation in my power for any injury offered . . . 
it only remains for me to bid you final adieu." 20 

The day before he had written his friend Franklin Pierce, 
"I leave immediately for Mississippi, and know not what 
may devolve upon me after my return. Civil war has only 
horror for me. . . ." 21 

Jefferson Davis was once again among his roses. 

By February, six "wayward sisters" had seceded, and this 
month before the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln saw a Repub- 
lican majority in the Senate, for the Senators of these seced- 
ing States had each resigned as his State withdrew. There 
was some sharp criticism in the South for their withdrawal, 
thus leaving the Republican majority to work its will. 
There was more in the North for those who, like Davis, 
remained on a technicality. February is a short month, so 
Buchanan's temerity was marked by days, but he nursed a 
fear that he would see himself burnt in effigy on his way to 
the quiet of his Pennsylvania home. It seemed to occupy 
his mind more than the near tragedy of war that, so provi- 
dentially, were he cautious, would be the desperate concern 
of this inexperienced politician from Illinois soon to succeed 
him. So cautious was he in fact that the forts and navy yards 
of the Southern States had been seized by the States in turn 
as they went out, and Buchanan had watched them go. All 



CHANGE OF CAPITALS 143 

that remained garrisoned by United States troops at the time 
of Lincoln's inauguration were Fort Pickens in Florida and 
Fort Sumter at Charleston. The South in its belief of the 
sovereignty of the State thought they were but safeguarding 
their own property. And the thought was a maj or reason for 
the hastening war. But before Buchanan had left the White 
House, Davis had been summoned from his roses to serve 
the will of the new Confederacy. 

A Glory of France rose a magnificent tea rose grew 
near the gate at Brierfield. There were other bushes of this 
same rose, and they gave the garden its own beauty. Plant- 
ing or pruning or making slips from these bushes was a 
favorite leisure pleasure of the Master of Brierfield when 
he was at home. In the garden, too, one could see through 
the thick oaks, out past the orchards, the great river making 
its turgid way to the sea. Roses and the river that was 
Brierfield. If he were to be called away, it would be as 
Major-General of the State troops. A soldier once again. 
It would have been a satisfaction. 

A month before, Davis as a Senator from Mississippi had 
posed to the Senate at Washington these queries: 22 "Shall 
we allow this separation to be total ?" he asked. "Shall we 
render it peaceful, with a view to the chance that, when 
hunger shall brighten the intellects of men, and the teach- 
ings of hard experience shall have tamed them, they may 
come back, in the spirit of our fathers, to the task of recon- 
struction? ... Or will they have that separation partial? 
... I waive the question of a duality, considering that a 
dual Executive would be the institution of a King Log. I 
consider a dual legislative department would be to bring into 
antagonism the representatives of two different countries, to 



144 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

war perpetually and thus to continue, not union, but the 
'irrepressible conflict. 3 " But that was a month ago. 

This February morning rose-cuttings were the occupation 
he and Mrs. Davis had set themselves. The cuttings might, 
with care, become as fine as the parent bush. But they would 
never be quite the same. 

A messenger rode in on horseback bringing a telegram. 
There were minutes of silence while Jefferson Davis read and 
reread the message. Then he told Mrs. Davis its contents. 
At Montgomery, Alabama, a group of gentlemen intent upon 
a political experiment had elected him President of the Con- 
federate States. 

Roses and the river . . . ? 

The change of capitals had come. 



Chapter XI The President of the. Confederacy 

WHEN Jefferson Davis stepped out upon the portico of the 
old Capitol at Montgomery, Alabama, at one o'clock on 
February 18, 1861, and took his oath of office, the machinery 
of a newly organized political entity was released for opera- 
tion. Standing between the high Corinthian columns that 
gave the old building a certain dignity, he delivered his inau- 
gural address. To the people who heard him it is esti- 
mated there were some seven thousand and to those five 
million others who were to call him President, he became 
the symbol of an idea, an idea that was to cost more than 
a half million lives offered with such lavishness and uncount- 
ing of cost as belonged to the spacious ways and mood of the 
men and women of the old Southland. 
^ Mr. Davis had reached the Capital the night before at 
about ten o'clock. A Committee of Congress and citizens 
had met him some eighty miles from Montgomery and 
brought him to the little city. The enthusiasm of the crowds 
all along the route from Jackson to Montgomery had com- 
pelled him to make many speeches about twenty-five it was 
thought he had made and again on reaching the depot a 
speech was demanded. Davis departed a little from his cus- 
tomary simple statement. Doubtless the excitement of the 
moment stirred the orator to rhetorical efforts. He declared 
the time for compromise had passed. He was determined to 
"maintain our proud position, and to make all who opposed 
us smell Southern powder and feel Southern steel. Our 
separation from the old Union is now complete. No com- 

145 



146 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

promise, no reconstruction would now be entertained." This 
speech caught the fancy of the crowd, if it had not Lord 
Lyons as he copied the extract to be sent to the Foreign 
Office. Cheer upon cheer followed the carriage which bore 
Davis away to the Exchange Hotel, his temporary head- 
quarters. Here again the crowd about the hotel called for 
another speech, after which William L. Yancey, Alabama's 
most vivid orator and politician, welcomed the President with 
the words that have become a classic of the South: "The dis- 
tinguished gentleman who has just addressed us has said the 
country does not now look to men but to principles. But 
how fortunate is our country? She has not only the prin- 
ciples for the administration of government, but also the 
man. She has found in the distinguished gentleman she has 
called to preside over her public affairs the statesman, the 
soldier, the patriot. . . . The man and the hour have 
met."^ Mr. Yancey's reward for these lyrical periods was 
his appointment as one of the three Commissioners sent to 
Europe within a few weeks, in the first attempt to secure 
recognition of the Confederacy by foreign powers. It was 
a task suited to his taste, for he had refused a Cabinet 
position. 

The little city quieted down after these demonstrations 
and waited the more solemn moment of the following day 
when the President was to take his oath of office. 
^ The Confederacy was but fourteen days old when Presi- 
dent Davis delivered his inaugural address, which he says 
"was deliberately prepared and uttered as written, and, in 
connection with the farewell speech to the Senate, presents 
a clear and authentic statement of the principles and purposes 
which actuated me on assuming the duties of the high office 
to which I had been called." 2 And it was but nine days 




THE INAUGURATION OF JEFFERSON DAVIS AT THE CAPITOL AT 
MONTGOMERY, FEBRUARY 1 8, 1 86 1 



THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERACY 147 

since he was duly elected by the Congress of Delegates from 
the seceding. States in convention. The Provisional Constitu- 
tion for the Confederate States of America, as this new 
political grouping was to be called, had been adopted for one 
year on February 8, so the provision ran, unless in the in- 
terval a permanent one should replace it. 

The sessions of the convention were held in the Capitol at 
Montgomery, and the proceedings moved with a swiftness 
that indicated that the Delegates appointed by the legisla- 
tures of their several States were well aware of the task in 
hand. Seated in the almost circular room, with the Speaker's 
chair facing the entrance, and above it a portrait of Jefferson, 
this group of determined men took upon themselves the re- 
sponsibility of a political experiment that from the start must 
have momentous consequence. The vast machinery and ex- 
pense incidental to bringing to popular vote a constitution and 
the election of officers was waived. In a revolution the ele- 
ment of time is a strong one. The whole remarkable pro- 
cedure was a matter of days only, and the States, each acting 
in its sovereign and independent character, as the preamble to 
the Constitution they so quickly adopted says, ratified this 
work of the Delegates and pronounced it good. They had at 
hand a Constitution under which all had lived and which 
many of those present had been very loath to renounce, and 
by accepting, some Southern writers think, made the initial 
mistake of the Confederacy. But this Constitution that they 
knew they used with such modifications as, in their judgment, 
fitted their needs. The term of office of President was fixed 
at six years. After the manner of the English Constitution, 
Cabinet officers were to have seats in the floor of either House 
with the privilege of discussing measures relating to their 
departments. It is a procedure that now has advocates. 8 



148 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

The President had the power to veto any item in an appro- 
priation bill, or approve one. 

The institution of slavery was made self-contained in the 
Confederate States that is, African slave trade was pro- 
hibited, and also "Congress was given power to prohibit the 
introduction of slaves from any state not a member of, or 
territory not belonging to, this Confederacy."- - And Repre- 
sentatives were apportioned as in the Constitution of the 
United States, but the "three-fifths of all other persons" be- 
came "three-fifths of all slaves." In this wise was the half- 
century struggle with the Federal Government placed in the 
new instrument. This was a provision wholly unsuited to the 
minds of the extreme Secessionists, or imperialists one might 
say, since in extending their lands as they hoped to do, 
negroes must provide the labor. 

No bounties were to be granted nor was a protective tariff 
to be allowed. However, a dispatch to the Charleston Mer- 
cury of February u, 1861, dated from Montgomery, Feb- 
ruary 8, announced that "a bill has passed continuing in force, 
until repealed or altered by Congress, all laws of the late 
United States which were in force upon the first of Novem- 
ber last, provided they shall not be inconsistent with the 
Constitution of the Provisional Government. It is under- 
stood that, under this law, a tariff will be laid upon all goods 
brought from the Northern States." And then perhaps what 
was more significant was added: "A resolution has been 
adopted instructing the Committee on Finance to report 
promptly a tariff to raise a revenue for the support of the 
Government." The Mercury on the following day con- 
demned this procedure, declaring free trade to be the true 
policy of the Confederate States. That would have suited 
better the tastes of some of the Carolinians, who entertained 



THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERACY 149 

hopes of war rather than submission, and dreams of empire, 
and desired to court the good will of Europe with free trade. 

There were, in short, as in all groups, divergences of 
opinion as to means to attain an end, and the surprising thing 
is that the Convention was kept in hand. But the end each 
sought was common to them all, whatever the process in 
attaining it an independent nation. The wiser ones of the 
group recognized the need of revenue, and even with a loan 
for immediate use from the State treasury of Alabama to 
that of the newly formed Confederacy, a tariff at least for 
revenue only would have seemed an obvious necessity. It 
was one of the many points relative to finance that marked 
the weak financial policy throughout the short life of the 
Confederacy. 

, The Convention had been at work but four days when the 
officers of the new Government were chosen. Davis was not 
the first choice for the Presidency. Some intimation that he 
would be when the new Government should be formed had 
been known to him, but he felt "adequate precaution had 
been taken to prevent it." He believed himself "not as well 
suited to the office as some others." His wish was to take his 
place in the field, and his State had given him the highest 
command in her army. 4 - 

In the first meetings Toombs was more prominently men- 
tioned, but his own Georgia delegation was divided between 
him and Cobb and Stephens. Had Toombs been chosen, 
there would have been at the head of the Confederate Gov- 
ernment a man of commanding force and personality and 
with a knowledge of men, which the austere scholarly Davis 
never had and never learned v x { He remained the doctrinaire 
to the end. Toombs in the matter of finance alone might 
easily have accomplished what the unskilled Memminger 



ISO JEFFERSON DAVIS 

scarcely thought of, and Davis' own ignorance of such mat- 
ters, together with his too feminine jealousy of others in 
authority, brought about in part the debacle of the Con- 
federate finance. 

In the early discussions of the Convention it was under- 
stood that the Mississippi delegation were inclined to save 
Davis to head the State troops. As always the aura of the 
military man was diffused about Davis, and in some fashion 
these experimenters in a great adventure sensed that a man 
with a military record might best suit the need of his time 
and capture the good will of the people.N Within twenty- 
four hours the news spread about that, the Mississippi dele- 
gation excepted, all the other States were for Davis. So 
when the messenger on horseback brought the word to him 
at Brierfield that he was the unanimous choice of the Con- 
vention for the high office, it came as a shock, almost a "dis- 
appointment," when he thought of active service in the field 
which, in the event of war, his rank in the militia of his 
State would secure him. 

The little man whose pale eager face and frail body had 
again and again stirred the House of Representatives with 
his speeches in "the fateful decade," and whom Lincoln ad- 
mired above every other member, Alexander H. Stephens, 5 
had been the choice of many for the highest place in the Con- 
federacy now forming. Indeed, in the early sessions Senator 
Wigfall, of Texas, who seems rarely to have shared in any 
enthusiasm for Davis, and others, were telegraphing to 
Montgomery urging that Stephens be made President since, 
obviously, it would conciliate the conservatives. 6 As one of 
those political adjustments incidental to any convention, Ste- 
phens was given second place. And the telegraph carried to 



THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERACY 151 

the country the news that the heads of the new Confederacy 
had been chosen. 

Rhett had seen his candidacy put aside and Toombs of 
Georgia had so fancied himself as a likely candidate as to 
have indicated that he would accept/ but the States of the 
Southwest steadily maintained their adherence to Davis, and 
the election was unanimous for him as was the case with 
Stephens. And there seems too to have been the notion that 
the head of the new Government would best not be chosen 
from militant South Carolina. A leader from the Southwest 
would indicate perhaps the widespread purpose of the South, 
that the revolution was not the work of a little group of 
wilful men. The essential point to be made to the seceded 
States was unanimity of opinion among these wise men, and 
it was secured in this fashion. 

The day of the inauguration found the old Southern city 
ready for more acclaims. The President was driven from 
the Exchange Hotel to the Capitol in a carriage drawn by 
four white horses, and at the suggestion of a young lady the 
band played "Dixie." The Southern anthem had been 
found. 

The inaugural speech suited well the attention of the 
crowd, although there was no mention in it of slavery. 8 
Davis emphasized the point that the people of the South were 
an agricultural people who sought only the freest trade their 
necessities would permit, "our true policy is peace," but 
nevertheless notwithstanding this, "in the present condition 
of affairs" here spoke the soldier "there should be a well 
instructed and disciplined army, more numerous than would 
usually be required on a peace establishment." The familiar 
doctrine of the right of secession was set forth, deriving its 
authority from the compact theory of the Union which gave 



152 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

each State as a sovereign the inalienable right to exercise 
this power at will. "We have changed the constituent parts 
but not the system of government," he said. He found occa- 
sion to applaud the circumstance that the separation from the 
Union had been accomplished by "no aggresion upon others" 
nor had there been any check to the industrial pursuits of the 
people. Were commerce, however, to be interfered with, 
retaliation such as is practiced upon the commerce of an 
enemy would be resorted to. There would be the necessity 
to provide at once for the several branches of the executive 
department having charge of foreign intercourse, finance and 
military affairs and the postal service. The concluding para- 
graph was one to hearten his hearers: "It is joyous in the 
midst of perilous times to look around upon a people united 
in heart, where one purpose of high resolve animates and 
actuates the whole j where the sacrifices to be made are not 
weighed in the balance against honor and right and liberty 
and equality. Obstacles may retard, but they cannot long 
prevent, the progress of a movement sanctified by its justice 
and sustained by a virtuous people. Reverently let us invoke 
the God of our Fathers to guide and protect us in our efforts 
to perpetuate the principles which by His blessing they were 
able to vindicate, establish, and transmit to their posterity. 
With the continuance of His favor ever gratefully acknowl- 
edged, we may hopefully look forward to success, to peace, 
and to prosperity." 9 

The evening found celebrations still going on. There 
were fireworks, and cannons boomed out salutes across the 
river and echoed in the wooded rolling land round about 
the city. And a man of a strange destiny began his work for 
his people. 

The selection of Cabinet officers was an early undertaking. 



THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERACY, 153 

Within three days the disappointed Toombs was made Secre- 
tary of State and Georgia was represented. Toombs be- 
longed to the planter class, if not the gentry. Charles G. 
Memminger of South Carolina, who began life as an orphan- 
age boy, became Secretary of the Treasury and held the office 
for three years. When George A. Trenholm, one of the few 
men in the South equipped by experience for the task, and 
belonging to the gentry, was placed at head of this greatly 
taxed department, it was too late. Harry T. Ellet of Mis- 
sissippi was Postmaster-General for ten days until succeeded 
by John T. Reagan of Texas. The Secretary of War was 
Leroy P. Walker, another representative of the planter class, 
who remained only until the following September, when he 
went into active military service.x At the head of the Depart- 
ment of Justice was Judah P. Benjamin, the Jew "with the 
slight perpetual smile," behind which the real story of the 
Confederacy still lies, who never traveled without a copy of 
Tennyson and so admired Horace; the man who was soon to 
be recognized as the brains of the Confederacy, and the only 
man with whom President Davis felt he was matching minds, 
notwithstanding there had been the manly moment in the 
Senate some time earlier when the practice of the times had 
caused the Jew to send Davis a challenge. These were the 
men with whom Davis surrounded himself, who went about 
the task of directing a government."'' In the main the appoint- 
ments were largely made to meet the personal vanities of 
men and their States. It was not a sound basis of organiza- 
tion. The scholar-planter looked upon them, and sought 
to find the way to bend them to his will. The Southerner 
is an individualist, and it was not the method to use.} One 
after another left with the exception of Reagan, Benjamin, 
and Mallory, the Secretary of the Navy, who remained 



i 5 4 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

throughout the four years only to take leave of the President 
when his capture was so imminent they fancied it to be then- 
own. So the doctrinaire who had been part of a Cabinet that 
remained unbroken through an Administration found no way 
to conciliate or to heed the men whose counsel might have 
served him in his superhuman task. With a nervous system 
that was soon torn with the immense demands he made upon 
it, physical illness followed that often nearly wrecked him. 
It has been said of him that as the years went on he grew 
more bitter and querulous. It is surprising that he was not 
more so. \. "\ j 

Montgomery soon took on the activities of a capital. 
Office seekers began to arrive, the newspaper correspondents 
were increasing, the families of the officials organized a 
society, and the hum and gossip of so varied a group rose 
above the quiet of this little city. There were two theaters, 
"The New Theatre" and "The Montgomery Theatre," to 
offer diversion to the now crowded Capital. There was con- 
stant entertaining among the people, although the market 
was poor, but then, as Mrs. Clement C. Clay, Jr., said, "We 
give our best and a warm welcome." 10 

The executive offices were soon established on the second 
floor of a large commercial building which stood at the 
corner of Commerce and Market Streets, at a rental of six 
thousand dollars. 11 Across the way a house belonging to 
Colonel Edward Harrison 12 had been secured for "the 
White House" for a year, at five thousand dollars. Mont- 
gomery recognized her importance and fixed the prices ac- 
cordingly. In the meantime the President and his official 
family stayed at the Exchange Hotel, whose scourge of flies 
and bad food became an impelling urge to move the Capital 
of the Confederacy elsewhere. 



THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERACY 155 

With Mrs. Davis' arrival and the establishing of the 
White House with its small garden directly across the way 
from the executive office, society became more organized. 
The correspondents were able to send to their papers the 
news of frequent levees which she held from one to three, 
"fashionably and numerously attended." 1S The relaxation 
for the President were guests of the official family for dinner 
where he made himself very agreeable. Mrs. Chesnut called 
him "witty and wise." Perhaps because he talked of Wash- 
ington and made no mention of the crisis of the moment. 14 

To William H. Russell of the Times when he went to 
call upon him, Mr. Davis did not measure up to his idea of 
him, nor to the Washington values as he had heard them. 
But he found him to be "like a gentleman." 15 

The slim, erect figure carried easily his slate-colored suit 5 
the black silk handkerchief about his neck set off his well- 
trimmed hair, black too. The trained observer noted his 
boots, as had a President at Washington in years gone by. 
The finely shaped head and broad high forehead an intel- 
lectual's index; the mobile mouth, thin-lipped, that could be 
drawn to give that impression of austerity people later talked 
about} the square chin that hinted of obstinacy, or, if you 
like, determination} the large, fine eyes, blue gray, the nose 
almost Grecian in its regularity, with the nostrils curved and 
wide. His manner Russell thought <c plain and rather re- 
served and drastic." Now in these early days in May, when 
a state of war had been declared to exist between the Con- 
federacy and the United States, Davis showed the strain of 
the past months. He was worn and haggard. He was 
anxious, but confident, and went about the innumerable de- 
tails of his business with a determination that was final in its 
decision. "He lacked nothing of indomitable will and im- 



156 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

perious purpose." And England, did she believe that there 
would be hostilities between the States? was one of the ques- 
tions Davis put to Russell. This England, and what her 
recognition would mean, lay always near the surface of his 
thoughts. He assured the war correspondent that he should 
have every facility extended to him. 

The Provisional Congress with the experienced parliamen- 
tarian Howell Cobb at its head carried on its formative work 
daily, but more often than not in secret session, and the popu- 
lace fed itself on rumor. And one tall, slim, rather austere 
man, the President, was to begin to know at once the sharp- 
ness of criticism. "Men already," says Mrs. Chesnut, "are 
willing to risk an injury to our cause if they may in so doing 
hurt Jefferson Davis." 16 And a few days later she bemoaned 
the fact that people were abusing one another "as fiercely as 
ever we have abused the Yankees." But the work went on, 
and by March 16 the First Session adjourned to meet on the 
second Monday in May, unless otherwise summoned, and the 
Permanent Constitution had been accepted five days before 
the Congress adjourned. 

The tariff duties when published showed but slight reduc- 
tion from those of the United States. There was a large ten 
per cent schedule and a very small free list. 17 In the early 
days Congress had been given full power to levy duties on 
imports and exports and the Committee on Finance had been 
instructed to inquire into the expediency of laying an export 
duty on cotton shipped to foreign ports. 18 

By the end of February the Commissioners who were to 
go to Europe in the interests of the Confederacy had been 
selected, and by the middle of March they had left Mont- 
gomery for New Orleans, going thence to Havana to take the 
mail steamer for England. The choice had fallen upon 



THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERACY 157 

William L. Yancey, Pierre A. Rost of Louisiana and A. 
Dudley Mann of Virginia, the latter the President's spe- 
cial friend. These gentlemen were believed to be amply 
equipped with oratory, persuasive charm and force sufficient 
to present the claims of the young precocious Government 
for immediate recognition by the mature and seasoned Gov- 
ernments of England and France. The Provisional Congress 
granted them one thousand dollars a month as compensation 
and a secretary whose pay was to be three thousand dollars 
a year. This the President approved. 19 

But before or by the time they reached England the 
British Foreign Office was in possession of a searching esti- 
mate of them from the Consul at Charleston, and could draw 
its own conclusions as to their personal value as envoys. 
Robert Bunch was peculiarly hard upon Dudley Mann. 
"His appointment, 35 he wrote, "has given great dissatisfaction 
to many persons in the South, partly on account of his per- 
sonal character, which is not good, and partly on account of 
his having been brought from a State which is not a member 
of the Southern Confederacy." But Mr. Mann, "the son 
of a bankrupt grocer," was believed to possess some knowl- 
edge of "court life" by reason of his having been sent on 
numerous missions to Europe, one of which, confides Bunch 
(the Consul) to Lord John Russell, was to encourage the 
Hungarians in their struggle with Austria. This was in 
1850, and so cognizant were the Austrians of this that the 
United States Government had been informed by the Aus- 
trian Minister at Washington that "it would hang Mr. Mann 
without scruple in case of necessity." His special fitness for 
the mission, other than as a "trading politician," was that he 
was interested in an attempt to establish direct trade by steam 
between the Southern States and Europe, but Bunch, on the 



158 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

whole, thought him to have "no special merit of any descrip- 
tion." Yancey he recognized as a man of ability, "admirably 
adapted for stump oratory, a rabid secessionist, a favorer of 
the revival of the slave trade, a 'Filibuster' of the extremest 
type of 'manifest destiny' and," he adds significantly, "his 
services in the cause of Secession have been great. ... It is 
supposed that he has made a point of his nomination to this 
mission and that he could not be refused." Of Judge Rost 
he says that he is altogether unknown to him, and apparently 
to every one else. 20 

Other Commissioners for home service had been appointed 
and these seem to have been picked with a view to impressing 
Washington with their moderate views. A group of three 
gentlemen, Governor Roman of Louisiana, Mr. Crawford of 
Georgia, and Mr. Forsyth of Alabama, were sent to negotiate 
"friendly relations between the Government and the United 
States of America," so that all questions might be resolved 
and war avoided by the skill of this Commission. Mr. Craw- 
ford preceded the others. The sympathetic Buchanan indi- 
cated a willingness to receive such Commissioners and refer 
their communications to the Senate, which was valor of a sort, 
since he had fears for his personal safety. In the end this 
valor went and the dread was such that he declined to receive 
any of the Commission. They fared no better some days 
later at Lincoln's or Seward's hands. Mr. Russell of the 
Times found them agreeable dinner companions and singled 
out the editor, Mr. Forsyth, as the most able of the three. 
He thought too, with his trained journalistic sense, it highly 
likely their mission would prove abortive. 21 By early April 
he knew it was to be, for the President and Secretary of State 
had definitely refused to hold any intercourse with the Com- 
missioners, and their only recourse was to withdraw from the 



THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERACY 159 

Capital. The South had made the gesture of accommoda- 
tion. Beyond that it could not go. 

In the meantime the inaugural address of Lincoln was be- 
fore the people. "One party to a contract may violate it 
break it, so to speak, but does it not require all to rescind 
it? . . ." "With change of interests may there not be fur- 
ther secessions from those who have already seceded ?" asked 
the President. A moderate, quiet tone pervaded the whole. 
Certain powers confided in him would be used, he declared, 
"to hold, occupy and possess the property, and places belong- 
ing to the Government, and collect the duties on imports ; 
but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there 
will be no invasion." At Montgomery the President and 
Cabinet were waiting anxiously to know to what lengths this 
Black Republican President would go, so they made arrange- 
ments to have the address telegraphed to them, the Con- 
federate Government paying the tolls. 22 

By the i ith of March the Provisional Constitution had be- 
come the permanent Constitution and Davis, who says he 
had no direct part in its preparation that was Alexander 
H. Stephens' work pronounced it "a model of wise, tem- 
perate and liberal statesmanship." 23 But it, with its corner- 
stone of the sovereignty of the States, and slavery, could not 
survive a war against one whose cornerstone was that of the 
consent of the people. The Confederacy was all too soon 
to learn this when governors of States wanted the State 
Troops for home defense and were opposed to yielding them 
up to a Confederate Army. 

The business of organizing a Government went on, but 
with, as one sees now, strange delays and omissions. Davis in 
his speeches on the way to Montgomery had said if war came 
it would be a long one. His inaugural said their pur- 



160 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

pose was peace. It was the politician's familiar appeal to the 
people. The United States fifty years later elected a Presi- 
dent who had "kept us out of war," but were to find him in a 
brief few months the leader of his people in the greatest 
war, except the Civil War, since Napoleon mastered his way 
through Europe. Each knew that war must come, but with 
Davis his knowledge of war made him more alive to pre- 
paredness in some ways than the man who so closely resem- 
bled him. 

But it would seem that he placed his main dependence on 
European recognition which, if gained, meant the open mar- 
kets of a neutral. The Southerner cannot doubt, as Justice 
Lamar truly said. And so Davis allowed the days to slip 
by that in the end meant loss of time that could not be made 
up. He seems neither to have sought advice nor to have ac- 
cepted such advice as the politicians who surrounded him 
offered. He was accustomed "to take counsel of himself ." 
The initial mistake in policy, as the whole world now knows, 
was not in buying up all the cotton there was, thereby having 
a treasury ready made, and shipping it to England and France 
before the blockade became more than a paper one. The 
cotton which the South possessed in the spring of '61 was not 
disposed of at once as it might have been in order to realize 
funds for carrying on the Government. It was to be but a 
few months before this was recognized and what the delay 
in action was to cost. Mr. Memminger was not a super- 
banker, and a super-banker was what was needed in those 
chaotic days. The credit of the Confederate Government 
was at the time, however, sound enough, so that treasury 
notes were exchanged at par with gold. 24 Fiat money was 
yet to come, and when it did the States had their own paper 




SOME CABINET MEMBERS AND COMMISSIONERS OF THE CONFEDERACY 



THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERACY 161 

money as well as the Confederacy. Bills were issued bearing 
the names of the States. The States as well as the people in 
them could not yield easily their individuality. 

The foreign, no less than the financial, policy failed to be 
outlined in those precious early weeks of the war. Toombs 
was to find that the foreign policy was to emanate from the 
room in the executive office building on whose door was a 
sheet of paper marked "The President." And the weeks 
moved on. Both North and South were marking time. The 
Provisional Congress had adjourned to meet again on the 
29th of April. 

President Lincoln had indicated that Fort Sumter would 
be evacuated. It was a trial balloon soon brought to earth. 
And the Southern commissioners heard they would not be 
received either by the President or Mr. Seward. The Gov- 
ernment at Washington would hazard nothing that appeared 
like recognition of the Montgomery government. Memo- 
randa "on file 35 were the means employed by Mr. Seward 
and Justice John A. Campbell, the Southern intermediary. 
There was to be nothing "official." 

To North and South alike the firing on Sumter clarified all 
doubts. Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand volunteers 
with quotas from the States. Virginia's months of discussion 
in a peace conference were over. Two days after the capitu- 
lation of Sumter, Virginia seceded. Lincoln's call meant 
coercion and Virginia no longer delayed her decision. That 
was not the moment for the legal nicety to be weighed, that 
"war is not, legally, a coercion of individuals." 

With Virginia went the man whose West Point record was 
of the highest, who had shown ably this training in the Mexi- 
can War even without the spectacular aid of a "V," such as 



1 62 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Davis' successful use o a military re-entering angle at Buena 
Vista came to be known 3 who had led United States Marines 
in the capture of John Brown at Harper's Ferry, and who 
was to be the idol of an army now in the making and of the 
Southland for all time. Robert E. Lee and Virginia were 
inseparable. 

A hundred guns were fired when word reached Mont- 
gomery that Virginia had seceded. Ten was the usual num- 
ber to announce the secession of a State, and Virginia had had 
her ten earlier in the day. This new salute marked off what 
she meant to the South. Quarrels were composed among the 
office seekers and local politicians. Criticism ceased of offi- 
cials and policy. The great State of Virginia had made her 
choice. The other border States were certain to follow. 

Lincoln's Proclamation stated that the execution of the 
laws was obstructed "by combinations too powerful to be sup- 
pressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings." 
This, in brief, was the Administration's theory. 25 Hence the 
call for volunteers. And for that and the Proclamation of 
May 4 to increase enlistments in the Regular Army and Navy 
above the authorized strength Lincoln was accused of having 
established a "military dictatorship," for Congress was not 
in session. 

Jefferson Davis, although critical of such procedure, found 
it necessary under stress to assume similar authority. His 
own Congress was not in session, which alone had the right 
to issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal, but his answer to 
Lincoln's proclamation was two days later to invite "all those 
who may desire, by service in private-armed vessels on the 
high sea to aid this Government in resisting so wanton and 
wicked an aggression, to make application for commissions or 



THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERACY 163 

letters of marque and reprisal to be issued under the seal of 
these Confederated States." 26 

When the Confederate Congress convened on the 29th of 
April, at Montgomery, Davis explained his activity by say- 
ing in his message, "Deprived of the aid of Congress at the 
moment ... I deemed it proper to issue proclamation in- 
viting application ... for the immediate issue of Letters 
of Marque and Reprisal. 55 The act which the President 
signed on the 6th of May was entitled "An Act recognizing 
the existence of war between the United States and the Con- 
federate States 5 and concerning letters of marque, prizes and 
prize goods." Davis, who is so frequently referred to as a 
"strict constructionist," learned thus early how essential is 
elastic power to a war President. And he also told his Con- 
gress how fast men were rushing into service faster than 
there were arms to equip them. 

But the correspondents of the papers at Montgomery 
found the days interminably dull. They would come to the 
Capitol, take their seats in the Chamber of Deputies, hear 
the roll called, prayers offered and a polite invitation to 
leave. The sessions were in secret. Their notebooks were 
often "unscrawled," one reporter complains. Such it had 
been since the reassembling of Congress. 27 What they did 
hear were rumors that the Capital was to be moved. The 
flies, the bad food in the hotel, were telling. The summer 
heat of Alabama did not add to the comfort of the states- 
men. Other plans were considered. The Virginia Conven- 
tion, however, had passed a resolution inviting "the President 
of the Confederate States and the constituted authorities of 
the Confederacy, whenever in their opinion the public in- 
terest or convenience may require it, to make the city of 
Richmond or some other place in this State the seat of the 



1 64 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Government of the Confederacy;" 28 and the newspapers had 
commented editorially on the fitness of such a move. Vir- 
ginia undoubtedly was to be the theater of the war. Rich- 
mond and Washington were to become the objectives of the 
armies. By the end of May the Confederate Government 
was in Richmond, and to some students it is still a question if 
that were not one of the initial mistakes of the Confederacy, 
for its real strength lay in the Lower South because of the 
Mississippi Valley. 29 

The President, already worn with work and the begin- 
nings of criticism that had hummed about him at Mont- 
gomery, was hailed by his people all along the way to Rich- 
mond. Unknown to them as he was, he caught their pride 
when he appeared at the stations when the train stopped, 
and made speeches. He was their leader in this new order. 
When he reached Richmond and had crossed so much terri- 
tory of the Confederacy, meeting enthusiasm all the way, 
he could feel his people were behind him. But it was not 
for long. 



Chapter XII Four Years of War / 

1861-1863 

THE inauguration of Mr. Lincoln passed off in the routine 
manner the function prescribes save for the picturesque inci- 
dent of Mr. Douglas averting an awkward moment when the 
President was looking for a place to put his hat, by rising and 
taking it from him. It was the sort of reassuring gesture 
that results when a diplomat calls upon the head of the Gov- 
ernment to which he is accredited as indicating the direction 
his country's sympathy is likely to move in a moment of 
strained relations with another. There was a ball as part of 
the ceremony and Monsieur Mercier, the French Minister, 
thought apparently he could give his Government no better 
idea of the type of man the new President was than by in- 
forming his Foreign Office that this ball, given in Mr. Lin- 
coln's honor, "qu'il disait etre le premier de sa vie ou il jut 
alle" 1 

The inaugural at Montgomery a month earlier had estab- 
lished Davis in his new office with even more acclaim. It 
was to be some weeks later before criticism was directed 
against him. Lincoln had become accustomed to criticism 
even before he reached Washington. Both men were in the 
struggles of Cabinet-making. Both' had political acknowl- 
edgments to make and the rumors and rumbles of the oncom- 
ing war went on in the two capitals. 

At Montgomery the Government decided upon sending 
the Commission to Washington in the hope, Davis says, "of 

165 



1 66 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

establishing friendly relations with the United States and 
effecting an equitable settlement of all questions relating to 
the common property of the States and the public debt." But 
the days went into weeks and the commissioners were unable, 
as we saw, to establish any communication beyond "filed" 
memoranda. 

Seward in the meantime devised a plan of creating a 
foreign war with any of the Powers France, Spain, Eng- 
land or Russia in the hope that such an enterprise would 
bring the North and South together. Happily, it never 
passed the plan stage. It was an exhibition of an effort in a 
foreign policy that put him in a class quite by himself as 
a Secretary of State. 

In Richmond a Convention had been sitting since February, 
which was vainly seeking a solution of the problem} the part 
the great State of Virginia was to play. The strength of the 
Confederacy would depend upon Virginia's secession. No 
Southerner ever believed Virginia could be coerced. The 
Secession element was vigorous, but there was strong Union- 
ist sentiment among the delegates a majority, in fact, were 
Unionists. The proceedings of the Convention constituted 
news of the first importance, and as such were given prece- 
dence to all other matter in the papers. The readers of the 
Richmond Dispatch had to turn to the third page opposite the 
editorial to read the caption "The War Begun" when Sumter 
was bombarded. The boasting type of "scare" headlines 
awaited another era. By the third day Virginia had seceded, 
and the war became news. It now occupied the first page. 
That day the caption was "The Civil War," but the follow- 
ing day simply "The War." 2 Davis said that once "in the 
hurry of writing he had spoken of the war as c the Civil War,' 
but had never used that misnomer again." 8 It was, as the 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I j6 7 

eminent Virginian John Y. Mason said, who served the 
United States as Minister to France, "a war of sentiment and 
opinion by one form of society against another form of 
society." 4 

It began when Major Anderson knew his men would be 
starved out at Fort Sumter. That would be within forty- 
eight hours. The relief expedition of supplies making down 
the coast was bringing "bread to Anderson" and Lincoln 
notified the Governor of South Carolina that such was the 
case. Davis at Montgomery learned this from General 
Beauregard on April 8. Notwithstanding the aid of the tele- 
graph it was April 10 when General Beauregard had his 
orders from Montgomery to demand the evacuation of Fort 
Sumter, with the further and more important instruction to 
fire upon it, to reduce it, if this were refused. When word 
reached Montgomery that in his reply Major Anderson had 
said he would be starved out in forty-eight hours the orders 
were explicit to "avoid the effusion of blood." A second 
refusal of evacuation on Anderson's part, although he offered 
a compromise, led the Confederate officers, sent by General 
Beauregard, to disregard his communication which said that 
he would evacuate the fort "by noon of the ijth instant" 
unless he were reenf orced or had contrary instruction from 
his Government. There seemed too many possibilities this 
rumored bread-bringing fleet so the zero hour was set 
without referring Anderson's statement to Davis. At four- 
thirty on the morning of April 12, the firing began. On 
Sunday afternoon, the I4th, Major Anderson reports he 
marched out of the fort "with colors flying and drums beat- 
ing, bringing away company and private property, and salut- 
ing my flag with fifty guns." 5 Such a conclusion could be 



z68 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

only because General Beauregard made possible the honors 
of war. 

If Congressmen and Senators and civilians generally drove 
out to Manassas to watch that battle, fashion and beauty 
crowded the battery at Charleston to see the bombardment 
of Sumter. There were no casualties on either side. South 
Carolina had begun the War as she did secession, and the 
pride of victory made it a moment when there could be re- 
joicing. Mr. Roger Pry or had achieved his purpose. His 
speech in Charleston where, doubtless, he had gone "to fire 
the Southern heart," was heeded. "I will tell you, gentle- 
men, what will put Virginia in the Southern Confederacy in 
less than an hour by Shrewsbury clock strike a blow." 6 
The Virginia Convention would now come to an end, and 
Virginia would no longer be in the Union. It was all most 
promising and Charleston was celebrating. It was like Paris 
in the Revolution of 1848, Russell of the London Times 
thought. Cases of champagne and claret, and French pates, 
were about the tents on the island at Sumter. The celebra- 
tion was going on there as well as on the mainland. 

At the North, unity of purpose was achieved. Lincoln's 
uncouth ways were forgotten in the desire to respond to his 
call for 75,000 volunteers. Davis at Montgomery answered 
with the offer to issue Letters of Marque, to be followed by 
Lincoln's declaring a blockade of the Southern ports in all 
the States which had then seceded, to which he added Vir- 
ginia and North Carolina a week later. Privateers 7 were to 
be held by the laws of the United States for the prevention 
of piracy, and all that remained was the decimating of life 
and youth and treasure in the broad reaches of a great land 
through four long years, because people will do that for their 
souls' sake. 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 169 

Virginia's early example of refusing the quota of troops 
Lincoln's call required brought her decision swiftly. Davis 
and his Cabinet were at rest. The great Old Dominion was 
with the Confederacy, and the gentlemen at Montgomery 
were already planning a change of capitals. The Vice-Presi- 
dent, Stephens, was to be sent to Richmond at once as Com- 
missioner, a circumstance that led the Richmond Dispatch to 
comment that his coming is "authoritatively understood" to 
mean that he is to assume the administration of the Govern- 
ment, "while President Davis, ready to die upon his country's 
war fields, is to go as Commander-in-Chief of the Army of 
the South." 8 It was the wish father to the thought. 

Before spring had run into summer the other States which 
were to secede had joined the Confederacy. The month of 
May saw Arkansas, Tennessee, by a military alliance, and 
North Carolina, come under the Stars and Bars. Davis' 
native State, Kentucky, in the end failed him, and remained 
in the Union. Missouri, one source of the welter of oratory 
on the slavery question in Congress, compromised with her- 
self and followed two flags but did not leave the Union. 
And the pitiless demands of war went on. 

The spring days brought as much anxiety in the one capital 
as the other. Equipment was lacking on both sides, but the 
determination to go on with what had been undertaken knew 
no dividing line. Both Davis and Lincoln knew the war 
would be a long one. Davis had warned of that early and, 
like a good soldier, did not underestimate the enemy. He 
told Mrs. Chesnut that before the end came the South would 
have many a bitter experience j that only fools doubted the 
courage of the Yankees or their willingness to fight when 
they saw fit. He told her too that after his experience in 
Mexico with the fighting qualities of the Southerners he 



i?o JEFFERSON DAVIS 

knew that all that could be done by pluck, muscle, endurance, 
and dogged courage, dash and red-hot patriotism, would be 
done. And yet, she says, "his tone was not sanguine, there 
was a sad refrain running through it all." But he laughed 
"at our faith in our own powers. We are like the British. 
We think every Southerner equal to three Yankees at least. 
We will have to be equivalent to a dozen now." 9 

Such was, in fact, the buoyant, eager will of the South and 
its Army to be and to do. 

It was a day in late May when Richmond became the seat 
of Government of the Confederacy. The press welcomed 
Davis and praised his ability and character. Stress was laid 
on the advantage it was to have a man of his military skill 
and experience as the Chief Executive. There was sympathy 
for him too, for he was worn from the work of organizing 
and directing the innumerable details of his Government. 
His mastery of details, his thoroughness in any undertaking, 
and his "iron will," all were praised. It was a satisfaction 
that a suitable house had been selected which was to be known 
as the White House of the Confederacy, and where in the 
four years of war he was to know the heights of praise, the 
depths of censure and tragic personal sorrow, and to measure 
in his own mind the rewards of ambition. 

The office seekers, the stir as of some great occupation, 
changed the quiet of the city on the seven hills to the hum 
of a capital and a military camp. Organization of the South- 
ern Army was going on as rapidly as the skill of its fine 
officers could direct. The training of West Point was capi- 
talizing the army units to such form as would be realized 
when men like Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, and the solemn 
teacher of mathematics, T. J. Jackson, were the officers. Day 
by day it was hoped that the training would cease. Action 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 171 

and results were what the people were clamoring for North 
and South. A Richmond paper 10 sought to satisfy its readers 
and for a number of days carried as a leader the following: 

SEND US THE NEWS 

Our friends in the various camps and places of rendez- 
vous and elsewhere will confer favor by sending to us any 
interesting intelligence, at the earliest practicable moment for 
publication. We desire to keep our readers informed in 
regard to everything that transpires, and there will be an 
adequate compensation for important news. 

This was a type of military intelligence that ceased after a 
time. The whole country had to be educated to this business 
of war. 

Slavery as a forensic subject for the moment had drifted 
away. The abolition of the African Slave trade in the Con- 
stitution of the Confederate States had been raised like a 
banner to catch the eye of England. It might easily become 
a bait for recognition. In any event the whole aspect of the 
"peculiar institution" would best be kept in the background. 
The occupation in the South was the two-fold one of putting 
the machinery of government in operation as well as the 
building up of an army. It was an overwhelming task and 
the burden of it lay upon the President. Public clamor in 
the North was "On to Richmond," that of the South that 
Washington must be taken. The herds of cattle brought to 
the latter city and pastured on the grounds of the Smith- 
sonian Institution indicated army rations. The city was mak- 
ing ready for the advance the officers of Government and 
civilians alike believed to be coming. Washington, so experi- 
enced a soldier as General Scott believed, was likely to be 



172 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

surrounded on all sides and quickly. In the meantime the 
quotas from the States were coming group after group with 
such interruptions as the firing upon the Sixth Massachusetts 
when passing through Baltimore, and the breaking of railway 
communications with the North by burning the railroad 
bridges, and the destruction of much material at the Navy 
Yard at Gosport. But in those early days to the President at 
Washington it seemed the troops were coming too slowly if 
Washington were to be saved. 

In Richmond the Confederate President made his view 
more positive every day that the Southern Army should not 
be used as one of aggression. It was being organized for 
defense. Any attempt to invade the South would show the 
will and purpose of her people. His Congress had passed 
an Act in early May recognizing the existence of war between 
the United States and the Confederate States, but the mean- 
ing was, in the view of the South, that invasion threatened 
and should be met to the last ounce of power the South had. 

In the organization of the Army of the Confederate 
States the term of enlistment was twelve months unless 
sooner discharged, as against that of three months in the 
Union Army. Great emphasis was laid upon the States 
offering troops or such organizations as might volunteer, but 
the President of the Confederacy, with the consent of Con- 
gress, was to appoint such general officer or officers as might 
be necessary for the services. 11 It was reminiscent of good 
Cavalier doctrine. It lay with the King alone, this power 
to appoint to military command and to give orders to the 
forces. 12 Cavaliers and Roundheads had made a Civil War 
in England on the point. Before the four years were done, 
such a result might have come in the Confederacy itself, so 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 173 

loath were the States to give their forces to the Confederate 
Army. They were essential to home defense. 

The Confederate Congress made a recommendation on 
March 16, 1861, of special interest. It was that the States 
should "cede the forts, arsenals, navy-yards, dock-yards and 
other public establishments within their respective limits to 
the Confederate States. 53 13 The principle, of course, was one 
on which the United States operated. In the case of the Con- 
federate Government, the fact was to be accomplished by the 
consent of the States. 

The housing of the Government at Richmond went rap- 
idly on. The executive offices were in the Treasury Build- 
ings, on the corner of Bank Street, a short walk from the 
President's House. The members of his Cabinet were close 
by, to be summoned as need be. When Davis arrived, Gen- 
eral Lee's activities as the head of the Army of Virginia had 
been directed towards making ready for the threatened in- 
vasion. General Joseph E. Johnston, with his forces, was 
placed at Harper's Ferry to guard the Shenandoah Valley. 
General Beauregard had been brought from South Carolina 
and was stationed at Manassas, on the highway from Wash- 
ington to Richmond. The Peninsula that lay between the 
York and the James Rivers was the bulwark to ward off 
approach from the sea. General Huger and General Ma- 
gruder had this responsibility. But it was to be General 
Beauregard who was first to gain acclaim here in Virginia. 

The "Anaconda policy" of General Scott which was to be 

scoffed at, had its indication when General McClellan moved 

' 

with his Ohio volunteers into western Virginia. The so- 
called "battle" of Philippi made him talked about, but not 
as he was to be later. General Patterson, with his force, was 
sent to Harper's Ferry to keep a watchful eye on General 



i 7 4 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Johnston now the guardian of the Shenandoah Valley. 
General McDowell's place was at Washington. It only re- 
mained for the age-long prod of politicians and newspapers 
to bring about a battle. This clamor that there be action was 
averted as long as possible by General Scott, who, as a 
Regular, knew the forces assembled around Washington 
were an army in the making and not one made. General 
Scott was thought to be too old for his task. It is true he 
disliked to be aroused from his nap to be told of the dis- 
patches from Bull Run, even when it was the Commander-in- 
Chief of the United States Army who came to talk the matter 
over. When General Scott was awake he probably was think- 
ing of the 1600 Regulars who were among the 30,000 men 
General McDowell had brought out from Washington. 
Perhaps in his sleep he still thought of them. 

It was hours later when the word came through of the 
rout, of that mass of stragglers, of carriages with Senators 
and Congressmen j of newspaper men in crowds 5 of the 
rabble who had come on foot or in anything that moved on 
wheels to see this grim thing of battle. It was to be called 
"a bloody Derby" and a "military picnic," and the rout of 
McDowell's army in full retreat to Centreville, except the 
Regulars, through the ruck of accoutrements, wagons, the 
wounded, teamsters and, in large numbers, the observers, will 
always invite description. What emerged from the heat, 
the dust and the confusion of that hot July Sunday was that 
the North had lost a battle, and the South an opportunity to 
try to take Washington. The day following the battle, when 
Washington was still in hopeless confusion with the returning 
wagons, ambulances, sutlers' carts, a still surging mass with 
the soldiers wandering about, an effigy of Jefferson Davis 
was found hanging on a tree. 14 In the long months of in- 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 175 

activity of the Army after the battle, the South had leisure 
to remember some fine things. A cavalry officer named J. E. 
B. Stuart had done away with some Zouaves on one side of 
Henry House Hill. After the battle his pursuit of the dis- 
ordered mass that cluttered the road to Centreville led be- 
yond that, for the cry "the Cavalry, the Cavalry !" carried 
the men further in fear and flight. Past Centreville the 
horsemen were apocryphal. 

But the "apparent freshness" of the United States forces 
at Centreville was one reason General Joseph Johnston as- 
signed for not advancing on Washington. On the other side 
of Henry House, an officer standing with his men among the 
pines heartened them with the famous order "to give them 
the bayonet" as the rush of the Federal troops came up the 
hill. After that he was "Stonewall" Jackson. 

Later in the day he seems to have done, unwittingly, what 
no power in any extremity, knowingly, could induce him to 
do. He disobeyed an order, an order given by his highest 
superior officer. But he did not know that. A gentleman in 
civilian clothes rode up to a number of men who were stand- 
ing near Stonewall Jackson when he was being treated for a 
small wound. The civilian gentleman was urging the men 
to return to their duty. Stonewall Jackson dealt very sharply 
with this intruder. He told him that the men were his sol- 
diers and theirs was the victory. 15 The President of the Con- 
federacy had not been recognized. Davis' attendance at the 
battle was part of his vanity, part of the soldier wish that 
was always first in his thoughts. He had planned to be 
present throughout the battle but General Beauregard had 
thwarted that, sensing as early as this that Davis took to its 
fullest significance the power the Confederate Constitution 
gave him as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of 



176 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

the Confederate States. General Beauregard desired no 
interference. 

The Confederate Congress had been assembled on July 
2O in the new capital of Richmond and Davis states that his 
presence on that occasion and the delivery of a message was 
required by usage and law. As the Provisional Congress of 
the Confederate States had been in existence only since Feb- 
ruary and had adjourned on April 29, until this date, unless 
the President should otherwise direct, the word usage seems 
unnecessary. For whatever reason, he was detained and did 
not reach Bull Run until some three or four hours before the 
close of the battle. The slow-moving train brought him to 
the junction at Manassas where, for the first time in the war, 
he heard the guns. The group of men about the station 
showed the unmistakable signs of panic. 16 There were stories 
going about of a grave defeat. It required Davis' authority 
and persuasion to force the conductor of the train which had 
brought him to detach the engine and run it to Army head- 
quarters where he would find a horse to ride, and where he 
would see his two Generals, Beauregard and Johnston. 

His arrival on the field furnished exhilarating paragraphs 
for the Southern papers. The President of the Confederacy 
announced to his Secretary of War a complete and decisive 
victory near Manassas. The Charleston Courier paid stir- 
ring tribute in a leader under the title "Our President." It 
likened him to "Washington in modern history and to 
Epaminondas in ancient history." It pointed out the Presi- 
dent in his dual capacity of political soldier. One day he ad- 
dressed an august assembly of legislators, the next he was 
leading a daring and devoted Army to a decisive victory. 17 
It was believed at first that his arrival on the field at a critical 
moment had turned the tide in favor of the Southern Army. 




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FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 177 

A correcting paragraph was published later that he did not 
leave Richmond in time to have reached the battlefield for 
this achievement. The correspondent had not heard of an 
officer named Thomas Jonathan Jackson, and his men. 
Davis' telegram to his wife was very simple. "It is a great 
victory." 18 

On his return to Richmond the crowds about his hotel de- 
manded a speech. The correspondent of the Mercury gives 
the main points of this address. When the President arrived 
on the field, the issue was in doubt, but "being recognized as 
the representative of their principle, the wounded waved 
their handkerchiefs and cried, 'There's Jeff Davis!' which 
created wild enthusiasm in our ranks and a panic in the ranks 
of the enemy. From that moment the victory was secured. 
... He passed high eulogies upon Johnston and Beaure- 
gard." 19 

The vivid account of Davis saving the day had evidently 
been drawn from the Richmond press. The anti-Adminis- 
tration Mercury points it out as an example of the way the 
papers in Richmond toadied to the President. 

Davis many years after in his apologia recalls with gratifi- 
cation the way the wounded received him and his officers 
on their arrival. 20 

In the chaotic days immediately following Bull Run, 
Stanton, who within a year was to be Lincoln's second Secre- 
tary of War, let his attachment to Buchanan supersede any 
duty or activity exacted of him, for he readily found leisure 
to write him, on July 25, his opinion of "the dreadful dis- 
aster." "It is not unlikely that some change in the Navy 
and War departments may take place, but none beyond these 
two departments until Jefferson Davis turns out the whole 
concern." Stanton had very little hope that the Administra- 



178 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

tion could accomplish anything. So much did Buchanan and 
Stanton have in common. "The capture of Washington 
seems now to be inevitable," he continued. "During the 
whole of Monday and Tuesday it might have been taken 
without any resistance. . . . Even now I doubt whether any 
serious opposition to the entrance of the Confederate forces 
could be offered. ... It is certain that Davis was in the 
field on Sunday, and the Secessionists here assert that he 
headed in person the last victorious charge." 21 

The rumors of difficulties with Davis and his General as 
well as with his Cabinet were now well pronounced. The 
failure to follow up the Manassas victory with an advance 
to Washington became the topic of dispute for civilian and 
military alike. The civilians believed the war ended. 
Yankee boasting had been silenced, and there had passed, into 
Southern speech, as indicating speed, a new expression, 
"Manassas time," 22 which matched very well Lord Palmer- 
ston's wit of "Yankee's Run." 

Davis, for the moment, could put aside the sharp criticism 
that was beginning to reach him, that the failure to have the 
victorious Southern Army march on Washington was due to 
him. The elation the South felt worked for inertia in mak- 
ing preparations for the war, and the humiliation the North 
felt worked for activity to reverse a defeat. Notwithstand- 
ing the number of foreigners supposedly in the Union Anpy, 
the majority was of Anglo-Saxon blood, and Anglo-Saxons 
usually play a return match. 

As a matter of fact, Davis did write out ah order to Gen- 
eral Bonham the night after the battle, which would have 
sent the Confederates off to Washington. On learning that 
the information he had about the Federal Army was not 
exact, the decision was not to be made till the following day. 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 179 

The weather, as is not infrequently the case, settled a matter 
of history. The windswept and storm-racked English 
Channel accounted in part for the destruction of the Armada. 
"He blew and, they were scattered"; the muddy fields of 
Waterloo kept Bliicher and his troops back till evening. The 
rainfall at Manassas went into history. A torrential down- 
pour made the roads unfit to move an army. The various 
commands were too scattered. They too were raw troops, 
as well as McDowell's Army, and before they could be as- 
sembled it was too late. "It was rain such as is only known 
in semi-tropical lands," wrote Mrs* Chesnut 23 Manassas 
had done something else. It went quite a way toward equip- 
ping the Confederate Army, so much material was left in the 
flight to the other side of the Potomac. Another thing had 
happened the Yankees heard the Rebel Yellj Stonewall 
Jackson's order to his men beside "give them the bayonet," 
had been, "When you charge, yell like furies!" 

The first effect of victory upon Davis was an idee fixe, 
which hampered his plans throughout the war and was as 
serious in its results to the Confederate cause as the failure 
to advance on Washington. There would be immediate 
recognition by England of the Confederacy. He used the 
idea as a hope for success, and when there was failure he 
used it to explain why further action was unnecessary. And 
when the recognition never came, he used the idea as ex- 
plaining that only his proud belief in keeping an independent 
South saved the Confederacy from becoming a vassal of 
England. It was an unfortunate foreign policy that had a 
bad reflex on domestic matters. 

The news of Bull Run in London brought out English 
opinion and sustained Davis in his belief. England saw 
that the squirearchy across the sea bore happy resemblance 



i8o JEFFERSON DAVIS 

to her own. At the moment she threw her weight of en- 
thusiasm with the winner. She did the same thing after 
Antietam. Charles Francis Adams wrote, "I cannot conceal 
from myself the fact that as a whole the English are pleased 
with our misfortunes." 24 But Davis was justified in his 
belief that England's recognition might come at any moment. 
There was, however, that troublesome Proclamation of Neu- 
trality of May and that matter of excluding Confederate 
privateers from British ports. In short, neutrality is only 
acceptable when, unlike the quality of mercy, it is strained 
in your favor. 

Through the summer months and on into autumn Davis 
coped with the jealousies of his Cabinet and his Generals. 
On July 24 Mrs. Chesnut wrote in her diary, "Now I could 
be happy but this Cabinet of ours are in such bitter quarrels 
among themselves everybody abusing everybody." 25 The 
time of withdrawals had come. Toombs, fatigued with the 
directions of his Chief, and with only sporadic foreign mat- 
ters for his attention he is said to have declared that he car- 
ried the Archives of the Department of State in his own 
hat 26 went into uniform with the straps of a Brigadier- 
General. The Secretary of War, Leroy P. Walker, was 
in the field by September, commissioned a Brigadier-General, 
too. Mr. Walker was the first of the five Secretaries of War 
Davis had. It should have been, of course, one of the most 
important Cabinet positions, perhaps the most important. 
But the duties of the office were those most familiar and 
acceptable to the President himself, and he never wanted 
a man of outstanding ability to have it. It was a clerkship's 
job in the brief years of the Confederacy. 

Cabinet disagreements gave way to difficulties with of- 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 181 

ficers. Criticism followed swiftly on after the victory. 
There was a shortage of ammunition. Disease was taking 
more men in the unsanitary camps than battles could, and 
even before the end of the summer the blockade had told. 
The rumor across the Potomac was of a large army in the 
making. The work of making it had been given to General 
McClellan the day after Bull Run. Organization went on. 
There were to be no more advances without a trained army. 
By November there was still inaction on the Washington side 
of the Potomac but General McClellan had superseded 
General Scott. 

On the Virginia side General Johnston's army was inac- 
tive, because Davis was listening with strained ears to the 
longed for word of recognition from England. He further 
never wished the South to be aggressor. The war had 
been undertaken as a means of defense. "We have taught 
them [the Federals] a lesson in their invasion of the sacred 
soil of Virginia," he had said after Manassas. His insistence 
was to await another invasion. 

At the North, Congress had authorized the President to 
call for 500,000 volunteers for three years' service. This 
was on July 4. Manassas was the best recruiting impulse 
the North could have had. By November General Mc- 
Clellan knew his army counted 168,000 men. 

The early months of 1862 were drab ones for the South. 
Yet before the year was done it was to be accounted the great 
one of the War. The rain that drenched the crowd in Capi- 
tol Square where Jefferson Davis was making his second 
inaugural address, but his first as a duly elected executive, 
matched the mood of the people. It was, he told them, the 
darkest hour of the Confederacy. Fort Donelson had fallen, 



1 82 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

and before that Fort Henry. The Western front had 
broken, and a Union General had been given a name by his 
men because of the terms he asked, and because his initials 
made it possible Unconditional Surrender Grant. 

In the State Capitol when Davis appeared and took his 
seat in the Speaker's chair there was a general murmur of 
applause, but whether the occasion or the man checked the 
people there were no cheers. When the crowd, gathered out 
in the Square around the Washington Monument, saw him, 
then the cheering began. His plain black suit he more 
often wore gray made his pallor the more marked. There 
was trace of emotion, as there was of will. He felt the 
responsibility of his office, but gave the impression of his 
determination and ability to meet its demands. 

The procession to the Monument was through a sea of 
umbrellas. The ceremonies were brief. The Bishop of the 
Diocese of Virginia made a prayer. When Davis rose there 
was cheering. But there was nothing inspiring nor hopeful 
in the message he could give the crowds. He could tell 
them, however, something unique in the experience of any 
Executive. He was "the unanimous choice of the people" 
who had called him to his exalted office. He chided foreign 
nations because they had acquiesced in a "pretended block- 
ade," depriving themselves of a commercial outlet, with the 
result that the Confederacy would fast become self-support- 
ing and independent. The disasters now upon them, he 
believed, would lead to increased resistance. 

The House assembled directly after the ceremony, but 
seems to have accomplished no business. It acted on a Mem- 
ber's suggestion that they adjourn because their coats and 
feet were wet. 27 There was some discussion as to whether 
the President's inaugural address should be printed, and a 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 183 

resolution to that effect was introduced. A Member said he 
had great respect for the President, but he supposed the 
speech would be printed anyhow, but if it were true that 
there was no copy in the possession of the House, how could 
it be printed? It was indicative o the public mind which 
already showed some indifference, if not active opposition, 
to their President. The people were as well indifferent to 
the defense of Richmond. That was to change in a few 
brief weeks. 

This man, so often said to be like Calhoun (but now more 
often like Wilson), at this crisis accomplished two things that 
were among his real achievements. Within a few weeks, at 
his urging, the Confederate Congress passed a Conscription 
Act and Robert E. Lee became military adviser to the Presi- 
dent. 

In his inaugural address Davis had chided the North for 
its destruction of civil liberty, the suspension of the writ of 
habeas corpus and other restrictions. At the South every 
right of the peaceful citizen had been maintained notwith- 
standing a "war of invasion," he had told them. Yet within 
a short time he was demanding of his own Congress power 
to exercise this same suspension. 

But he was soon to find himself forced to do the things 
for which he had so sharply criticized Lincoln. And soon 
the declaration of martial law in Richmond and its environs 
became necessary. War powers were as essential for one 
executive as for the other. 

The Conscription Act of the South anticipated that of the 
North by a year it was Jefferson Davis who brought about 
the first Conscription in the United States but in neither 
North nor South was it done with so little disturbance as 
when Mr. Wilson issued his Proclamation on the Selective 



1 84 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Draft Act of 1917. The finely chosen word "Selective" 
subdued the ugly word "Draft," and was far less harsh than 
"Conscription." But all three secured the result desired. 
They hastened men to the colors. Mr. Wilson stressed the 
point in his Proclamation that unity of purpose would alone 
serve the nation. "A nation," he said, "needs all men: but 
it needs each man, not in the field that will most pleasure 
him, but in the endeavor that will best serve the common 
good. Thus though a sharp-shooter pleases to operate a 
trip-hammer for the forging of great guns and an expert 
machinist desires to march with the flag, the nation is served 
only when the sharp-shooter marches and the machinist 
remains at his levers. 

"The whole nation must be a team, in which each man 
shall play the part for which he is best fitted." 2S 

Davis well knew that what was needed for the Confed- 
eracy was that it should be "a team." It was perhaps his 
most difficult task. It at once evoked the question of States 
Rights and challenged the theory on which the States had 
seceded. The Vice-President, Stephens, felt conscription to 
be a violation of States Rights and he never changed his view 
to the end. 

There was much bitter criticism throughout the South as 
there was a year later in the North when Congress passed 
its first Conscription Act. 

In the South the attitude was the difficult one of accepting 
the national idea. The notion of a Confederate Army as 
opposed to the idea of State Troops had been a complex one 
from the first. It was taking all his skill to force the idea 
of a Confederate National Army. Davis found that the Gov- 
ernors as well as the Legislatures of the States were strongly 
opposed to the idea that troops could be taken out of their 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 185 

own State. Mr. Russell of the London Times believed it to 
be due to Davis 7 delicate management, and the perfect knowl- 
edge of his countrymen, that he was able to bring together 
"the diverse individualities of his regiments into something 
like a National Army." 

In the year's time and in these dark hours of the Con- 
federacy, everything must give way to the securing of re- 
placements and the keeping up of the Army. Selfishness 
made profiteers and strikers grow up in the South as well as 
in the North. It was one of the drags that Jefferson Davis 
had to overcome. The constitutionality of the law was 
doubted and resisted. But in the spring days of 1862 it 
brought together the men of the South for the defense of 
Richmond, just as it served the Army at Antietam and at 
Fredericksburg. A man to be a man in the South had to be 
in uniform. And there were men in the South. Substitu- 
tion, in abuse, came a year later. 

By 1864, the military service age was from seventeen to 
fifty. Davis could indeed say he was "grinding the seed corn 
of the Confederacy." Industry suffered too, through the 
workers being conscripted, but resorting so often to substitu- 
tion, so that the War Department was finally called upon to 
supply labor from the Army. Men were detailed to carry on 
certain necessary industries. 29 It was a type of organization 
that could come only as a final recourse. 

The last years of the War brought out men of inferior 
quality in both armies. The best had gone at the first sum- 
mons. The planter class, the aristocrats of the South, were 
well aware what they must give to win their cause. They 
gave their all, and then knew grief only when there was 
no more to give. 

The first Conscription Act called for men between the ages 



i86 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

of eighteen and thirty-five, but with specified classes of 
exemption. Ministers, conscientious objectors, railway em- 
ployees, apothecaries, teachers, to which later were added 
editors, printers and plantation overseers, at the rate of one 
to every twenty negroes, 30 and numerous other classes, made 
a long list. It also made a name for the law, the "twenty 
nigger law." In the last years of the War when the Gov- 
ernors of the States made the exemptions to cover almost any 
one they chose as a mark of States Rights, there were many 
men of military age and capacity not in service. In Georgia 
alone it was estimated that there were more men between the 
ages of eighteen and forty-five then in their homes than had 
gone into the Confederate Service. 81 

The Confederate Congress found itself with new problems 
to face. These exemptions pitted class against class. Ex- 
empting editors and printers was indication of the attitude 
the Confederacy held towards the press. Its "freedom" was 
undisturbed. Right in Richmond itself the anti-Administra- 
tion papers went on in their attacks on Davis, unchecked. 
Indeed no newspaper was suppressed by Government order 
in the South. 82 In the case of the editor of the Raleigh 
Standard,, soldiers wrecked his printing plant when he be- 
came a peace-at-any-price man in 1864, running for Governor 
on such a plank. His civilian subscribers took up the fight 
by wrecking the rival strong Administration organ. 83 Nor 
was there censorship. The telegraph was censored in the 
North, but the word "censorship" is wholly missing from 
the index of the Government Documents of the Civil War 
period. It is not found either in the Index of the Official 
Records of the Civil War nor in that of the Congressional 
Globed It is a word unliked where civil liberties are 
thought to be guarded. 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 187 

The "freedom" of the press supplied the Generals o 
both armies with valuable information. Criticism of offi- 
cials was more prevalent than news, but there was no rebuke. 
Treasonable matter was dealt with in court-martials, but the 
criticism of action was neither discouraged nor noticed. 
These dark hours of the Confederacy were productive of 
attacks upon their President and the newspapers led the way. 
There was criticism of the secret sessions of the Confederate 
Congress. It meant that pressure was all on the side of the 
Executive, and that public opinion was not permitted to 
interfere. Criticism took some such form as this. The 
President was thought not to have surrounded himself in his 
Cabinet with the strong men of the South; he was urged to 
leave strategy to the Commanding Generals of the Con- 
federate Armies, to see that their needs were met and to 
reward or punish them according to their conduct of the war. 
Were this done "the South would very soon be redeemed 
from the present position of depression, difficulty and danger, 
into which, by mismanagement and a great want of fore- 
sight, she has been thrust," was the Mercury's 85 view. The 
Mercury laid the blame squarely on the President. "Should 
he surround himself by flatterers and sycophants and hug 
to himself the delusion of his being a great and universal 
genius j should he assume to control and direct the whole 
machinery of the Government of which he is the elected 
head, and should Congress sit in secret session, aiding and 
abetting the Executive whether in wisdom or in folly, while 
the people whose servants they all profess to be are kept 
wholly in the dark as to the doings of their Government, 
then matters will not be in train for improvement." 

Then too, the people were impatient of delay and wanted 
action. They were "incredulous of a long war." 



1 88 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

It had been the intention to have a ball following the mili- 
tary parade and ceremonies of the Inauguration, but it was 
abandoned because the news from the front was too serious. 
Instead, Mr. and Mrs. Davis gave a reception at their house 
in Clay Street. The world and his wife came and many 
also quite unknown in the society of the Capital. The large 
drawing rooms and dining room giving on the gallery that 
ran along the front of the house were spacious and had the 
dignity of an official residence. They have dignity now as 
the Confederate Museum where many of the things then in 
use still remain. The crowd that came and went this night 
found their President approachable. There was less of the 
customary haughtiness. In the Washington days, he had 
been indifferent to social life. To make the effort now in 
the stress of the war was even more difficult. But he went 
among his guests a little more unbendingly. From the pres- 
sure of the work, the heart-racking demands of the war, 
he had no recoil. He never understood that release which 
Lincoln found in humor nor was he ever able to give to 
the casual person whom he met the quality of charm that 
his family and kin found in him always. He suffered from 
the vagaries and exactions of the neurasthenic. And not the 
least part of his tragedy was that he was placed in a position 
to tear his nerves relentlessly. The position called out bitter 
and often unreasoned criticism. Yet this was a man who 
could not endure even a child's rebuke. 

In Washington, on the same night, the illumination of 
the Public Buildings which was customary on Washington's 
Birthday was abandoned because of the death of Lincoln's 
son, Willie, two days before. There had been planned also 
another ceremony. An order had been issued from the War 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 189 

Department, by direction of President Lincoln, that immedi- 
ately following the reading of Washington's Farewell Ad- 
dress in the House of Representatives on Washington's 
Birthday, "the Rebel flags lately captured by the United 
States Forces shall be presented to Congress by the Adjutant- 
General to be disposed of as Congress may direct." 3e But, 
happily, in the interests of good taste, this was abandoned 
also. 

M. Mercier, whose communications to his Government 
were constant and voluminous, informed the French Foreign 
Office of the circumstances and approved the change. The 
Diplomatic Corps were to be present for the reading of what 
M. Mercier called le testament $olitique du Pere de la 
Patrie? 1 with the exception of the British Legation, who had 
given as the reason for their absence the mourning for Prince 
Albert. In Washington as well as in Richmond the 22nd of 
February that year was not a moment for celebration. 

Now nearly seventy years after, when there are ceremonies 
of captured flags to be held at Washington, it is because they 
are being returned to the States of the South whose regi- 
ments carried them. The State of Maine recently returned 
six taken from Virginia, North Carolina and Texas. 

Richmond had become a city filled with changes. All 
the rabble of profiteers, office-seekers, doubtful venders, were 
making this peaceful city a place distorted with the drive of 
war. The Richmond correspondent of the Charleston Mer- 
cury declared that by the beginning of 1862 even the Mem- 
bers of Congress were dissatisfied with it as a capital. They 
found the Virginians unsocial, and the trades people were 
"conscienceless extortioners." It was said that it was a "war 
of contractors." Some of the Western papers were calling 
it that, and adding that it would not end while anything 



1 90 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

could be made of it. The stress and strain of it all were 
beginning to tell, but its most significant effect was that Davis 
no longer held his people. The delusion that recognition of 
Southern independence by European Powers was all that was 
needed to terminate the war was the talk among the ruling 
class, as the talk of not ending it as long as there was any- 
thing to be made out of it was the talk of the man in the 
street. There was criticism of the Richmond Enquirer, the 
Administration organ, for its fulsome praise of Davis, and a 
contemporary chided it on its "bitterest irony" in comparing 
the President to Washington. It suggested to the Enquirer 
that if it could "explain the reasons of the Executive in 
vetoing every measure not suggested by himself, and some 
that were, as, for example, the bill creating the office of 
Commanding General, it would do the country a service." 
What the country did not know was how intense the feeling 
was growing between Davis and his Congress. He used his 
power of veto many times in the four years, thirty-eight 
times in fact, and his Congress retaliated by passing all the 
bills but one over his veto. 3 * 

The critical Members of Congress were eager to satisfy 
their constituents all were familiar with the fact that broken 
fences had to be mended and they passed legislation which 
would have made furloughs on a physician's authority pos- 
sible. The army would have had about 30,000 men on leave 
at a time. 3 * Davis vetoed this at once. He clung to the 
idea that everything pertaining to the military must come 
under Executive direction. He said of Congress that it 
should "keep within the bounds of law and common sense," * 
a circumstance that conceivably might explain the thirty- 
seven bills passed over his veto. 

The spring campaigns brought little more of cheer. Davis 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 191 

was to lose one of his most able commanders and a friend. 
His aloofness, about which there was so much comment and 
which came in part perhaps from arrogance, was wholly lack- 
ing with a friend. Albert Sidney Johnston never came within 
his criticism. He was to him "the richly endowed soldier." 
His soldier death at Shiloh, after leading his charge success- 
fully, was a deep wound to Davis. 

The two days 5 fighting at Shiloh mounted up the waste of 
men. The first day's success was with the Confederate 
Army. On a hilltop the Union Army held their ground, 
while a Confederate order came, "Cease firing." The cus- 
tomary torrential rain fell. There were more hours of 
fighting, but neither Beauregard nor Grant pursued. The 
Confederate Army was drawn back to Corinth. The Union 
Army under Grant remained at Pittsburg Landing and there 
was a lull long enough for abuse of Grant to be piled high. 
What the Confederate President was remembering was that 
he had lost a friend, and the South a fine commander. 

Shiloh was one of the hardest blows to the South. And 
Tennessee, which only the year before had given over the 
control of the State militia to Jefferson Davis, and had in- 
vited the Confederate Government to make Nashville the 
capital of the Confederacy, from now on could hardly again 
be called a Southern State. It was a tragic hour for the 
South, and it seemed to make more certain that the Western 
front was lost to the Confederacy. The appeal of Davis to 
the Governors of the States for troops this time was heeded. 
This was a calamity the South as a whole shared, and there 
was no quibbling about home defense nor waiting upon 
technicalities in the disposition of State troops. 

The end of the month saw the fall of New Orleans. 
Captain Farragut and the former camel-expert, Lieutenant 



JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Porter, had taken Forts Jackson and St. Philip where the 
river makes round Plaquemine Bend, with New Orleans less 
than a hundred miles away. The next day the flotilla moved 
on, the protective advance for the troops that were to take 
the city. A heavy rain made the old city gloomy, and a 
thick vapor, not unlike a London fog, hung over it, caused 
by the burning of the cotton and the molasses. 41 But Captain 
Farragut's fleet had come to anchor, and at daylight the 
bell in the tower of old Christ Church rang out* The people 
knew then the city had fallen. 

May Day that year was different from all others. "Beast" 
Butler, whose descriptive epigram furnished the Federal 
Government with a classification for the negro laborers at 
Fortress Monroe, "contraband of war," became the military 
governor of the city. Captain Farragut had turned it over to 
him after the evacuation by the Confederate forces. It was 
a brutal regime. Sentries were posted at all houses which 
were under suspicion. None knew when they were to be 
ordered out of their homes. The loss of the city had 
numerous results quite apart from the great destruction of 
property to insure its not coming into Union possession. The 
man who in the National Democratic Convention in 1860 
had voted with the Massachusetts delegation fifty-seven 
times for Jefferson Davis, was shortly to be called by him a 
"felon" and ordered to be hanged. He was to be scourged 
in Parliament for his famous Order 28, which declared that 
women insulting Union soldiers should be treated as women 
of the street. The London Times was to make much of the 
Order as being reason enough to have no further dealings 
with the North, while Mr. Adams and Lord Palmerston ex- 
changed letters remarkable in expression even for them. 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 193 

New Orleans had long since lost much of its gayety. The 
pinch of war was felt there early, for the ships were not 
upon their "lawful occasions," and the blockade had shut out 
in the main the world commerce that came to this port, which 
even now is the second largest in the United States. The 
speech of the quays was the speech of many tongues. The 
men who spoke it were the rough dregs of the world's ports. 
It was a difficult city to put under military control. But 
General Butler did not remain long. The chancelleries of 
Europe had long thought of New Orleans as not having 
been really assimilated by the United States they would 
take a hand in the matter, and diplomacy was called in to 
urge General Butler's removal. He did not leave, how- 
ever, before he saw one of his orders defeated by the ladies 
of New Orleans. The churches in the War were as divided 
as the country. The President of the United States had not 
been prayed for in any church in the South since Sumter. It 
was an Army regulation that, upon the Federal troops occu- 
pying a city, a prayer for the President should be part of the 
Sunday service. At New Orleans, when the old rector of 
St. PauPs failed to carry out this order of General Butler's, 
the military guard posted at the church marched quickly 
down the aisle to place him under arrest. There resulted 
what came to be known as the "Battle of the Prayer-books" 42 
when the ladies of the congregation, one after another, rose 
from their knees and began hurling their books and hymnals 
at the soldiers leading the old clergyman away. The quiet 
of old St. Paul's had been broken sharply, but the rector 
knew that he had been among friends. 

The fall of New Orleans, the Confederate Secretary of 
War conceived to be "the crowning stroke of adverse for- 
tune." 



JEFFERSON DAVIS 

The main theater of the war in the April days lay in the 
Peninsula between the York and the James River, where the 
McClellan aptitude for delay waiting perfection in prepara- 
tion added a new anxiety to the Government in Richmond 
and a greater impatience to the North. 

The river ways up either side of the Peninsula had made 
that terrain a feasible approach to Richmond. On the James 
River the ugly-looking craft first called the Merrimac and 
then the Virginia stood guard to that approach. She held it 
until the Confederates got some 12,000 of their forces to 
Richmond where General Lee needed them. The Assistant 
Secretary of the United States Navy referred to her as "that 
confounded Merrimac," until the Monitor a few weeks later 
in Hampton Roads neutralized her effect. And the question 
of ironclads had become an essential point of discussion in all 
future naval parleys. 

When the Merrimac was destroyed by her own officers, 
shortly after the surrender of Norfolk, to prevent her falling 
into the hands of the United States Navy, the criticism 
against Davis was harsher than ever. The newspapers 
blamed him for this "panicky" act. He stood this blame as 
he did that of failing to order the troops on to Washington 
after Manassas in silence. He did not want the South to 
know the Merrimac, as a ship, was outclassed. 48 

The Confederate Army at Yorktown with General John- 
ston in command began the retreat that brought a Union 
defeat at Williamsburg. The Army of the Potomac which 
McClellan wanted reenforced with some of General Mc- 
Dowell's forces was but seven miles away from Richmond 
on the Chickahominy. The church bells in Richmond could 
be heard in the hours of stillness. 

In the city itself was confusion. The hurrying arrange- 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 195 

ments for evacuation went on. The archives were packed 
ready to be taken to safety, to either Lynchburg or Colum- 
bia. The official family of the President, as well as those of 
his own household, were leaving the city. Mrs. Davis and 
her children had gone to Raleigh. This seemed well wide 
of an invading army. 

When McClellan said that he would be in Richmond in 
ten days it was on February 13, 1862 it was something 
for the politicians and the people of the North to feed upon, 
and at least indicated the action that was more and more 
being demanded. It might have interfered with the inau- 
guration of Davis had it been accomplished. February 22 
had been selected as a day peculiarly appropriate in the minds 
of the Southern people for the inauguration of a President 
of the Southern Confederacy. There was also, perhaps, the 
intent to popularize the President by having his inauguration 
in such a setting as Richmond. Doubtless it seemed a day 
peculiarly appropriate to a Northern General to take the 
enemy's capital. But McClellan was instead to conduct a 
campaign through the next few months that ended in his 
being some twenty or so miles away from Richmond, where 
the church bells could no longer be heard. 

The lost chance at Yorktown, where he gave the Con- 
federate Army a month's opportunity to strengthen their 
whole position, while he awaited the artillery coming from 
Washington, began the Peninsula campaign. It ended after 
the Seven Days' Battles when the country and the world be- 
came aware that two great soldiers, whose training had been 
at West Point, were in the Southern Army Robert E. Lee 
and Stonewall Jackson. And from across the sea there were 
many signs that Davis could feed upon his hope of European 



196 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

recognition, and Mr. Gladstone's famous Newcastle speech 
was only two months away. 

Lincoln had demoted McClellan from his position of com- 
mand, second only to his own, to his old place at the head 
of the Army of the Potomac. It was not enough that his sol- 
diers loved him. There was a war to be got on with, and 
McClellan's moment of perfection was put off too long. 

His Comrnander-in-ChiePs order to break the enemy's 
lines at once, prefaced with "I think you better," thus mak- 
ing it a suggestion, was scorned. General Johnston did 
evacuate Yorktown, and the Federals met a defeat at WiL 
liamsburg. It was the third week in May when he rested 
his forces on the Chickahominy, and anxiety began at Rich- 
mond lest there be a repetition of New Orleans. 

It was the moment Davis chose to join old St. Paul's 
Church, and when he issued one of his many proclamations 
appointing a day of fasting and prayer. The Richmond 
Examiner, whose abuse of Davis was so constant, took occa- 
sion to notice the ceremony and described him as "standing 
in a corner telling his beads and relying on a miracle to save 
the country.' 5 Such criticism could scarcely have served 
either political or patriotic purpose. 

What Davis could have reason to be thankful for was the 
work of two menj the strategy of Robert E. Lee and the 
action of Stonewall Jackson. 

The lovely valley of the Shenandoah had not yet gone 
wholly into its summer ways. It was fertile in its rich 
beauty, and Jackson knew so well its every turn. The skill 
of his manoeuvers up and down his own valley made him 
the idol of military men. But Davis seems never to have 
realized the genius of the man. Lincoln was giving far 
more thought to him. The dispatches from the Valley were 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 197 

disconcerting. The spectacular Fremont was sent reenf orce- 
ments, but at Winchester Jackson routed the Union Army 
under Banks. He still had his Valley. And at Washington 
there was what was to be known as "the great scare." * 4 The 
President was asking for aid from the States with their 
militia recruiting had stopped by order of the Secretary of 
War in early April he had taken over all the railroads, 
and the capital waited the threatened attack. But Stonewall 
Jackson could sit down and think over the month's toll. In 
brief, it comprised many prisoners, victories in five battles, 
and the men who were to have reenf orced McClellan were 
needed to save Washington. It was a successful chess move. 
As a military man it should have delighted Davis. But he 
never used this man that military critics unite to regard as a 
great soldier* 

What the capital at Richmond was hearing as well were 
the bugles in the Union lines, now being blown but six miles 
away, and that Robert E. Lee had been given the command 
of the Army of Northern Virginia. The Battle of Seven 
Pines, or Fair Oaks, had come and gone with its record of 
swaying bridges weakened with the flood stage of the Chicka- 
hominy which carried General Sumner's men across, and 
made the success of the. Confederate Army only a partial one. 
The severe wounding of Joseph E. Johnston gave the com- 
mand to Lee. 

This preliminary encounter with McClellan left the 
armies quiet along the Chickahominy for a month until 
broken by the battle of Gaines's Mill, where the two armies 
were approximately of even strength. It was Lee's first 
battle "in direct command," and a victorious one. It was a 
battle for the specialists. But the book that tells of Stone- 
wall Jackson's tactics and Lee's strategy is a textbook still 



198 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

used in the British Military School, and the just Rhodes says 
quite simply that "no matter how many troops had been 
given McClellan, he could not have handled them to get the 
better of Lee and Jackson." 45 The campaign ended after 
the Seven Days' Battles and Malvern Hill, and the Peninsula 
campaign, which was to have been the summit of McClel- 
lan's military fame, had failed. His Corps Commanders and 
his men had more than done their part. He had demon- 
strated that he had shared with General Johnston a type of 
military skill which does not make for newspaper headlines 
but saves an army. He withdrew an hundred thousand men 
in safety to a point on the James where he could make 
signal to the gunboats. There was no longer a siege of 
Richmond. The South had now its hour. Richmond was 
safe. Lee's army was near by, "decimated/' is the word 
sometimes used, and Davis was learning that his Conscription 
Act was bringing men to the colors, and, temporarily, the 
sharp criticisms against him ceased. 

In England the Southern success was pushing the Foreign 
Office and the Cabinet to the point where recognition fluttered 
about like a balloon held tightly in the hand of the cautious 
Russell. Lord Palmerston might cut the string. 

The pro-Southern press in England and in France hailed 
the success of the Southern armies. The Quarterly Review 
was showing Lord Salisbury at his most Tory best. John 
Bright did not think the war would soon be over and he 
believed that the cotton famine would last long. And in 
France the Emperor was listening, as is the way of silent 
men, to the rather fatuous utterances of Davis' Commissioner, 
Slidell. 

The first six months of the year had been a period bf 
great gloom for the South. Davis had lost much of his 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 199 

popularity. The blockade had become "effective" in Lord 
RusselPs definition. The half year had been difficult in 
every way. Now new hope came with the victories the 
brains of Lee had devised. Again Davis listened for the 
hoped-for word across the seas. 

He was hearing some things to hearten him. The Florida 
was doing much to hamper the blockade, and the Alabama 
sailed from Liverpool just as the Peninsula campaign had 
closed. 

When Davis was waiting to hear of this recognition of 
Southern independence, Lee was planning to make the suc- 
cess of Confederate arms so indubitable that negotiations 
could be begun on the basis of Southern independence and the 
war be terminated. 

It was the golden moment of the Confederacy. 

At the North there were the confusion and fumbling with 
commands while President Lincoln and his Cabinet searched 
among Major-Generals for one likely to lead a victorious 
army. It was the slavery problem which was really engross- 
ing Lincoln. 

It was on a July day that Mr. Lincoln first mentioned the 
subject of Emancipation as a Federal measure. When he 
brought the attention of the Cabinet to the draft of the 
Proclamation he had prepared, it was Seward who, though 
declaring his approval, thought it the wrong moment to pro- 
pose it. It should be issued after military victory and not at a 
moment of disasters. 46 The moment did not come for some 
weeks later. The end of August saw the defeat of Pope's 
Army at the Second Bull Run, as part of it had been defeated 
earlier in the month at Cedar Mountain. It was not long 
before he was relieved of his command and his services were 
no longer required as a General, 47 and in early September 



200 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

McClellan, in spite of the opposition of the Cabinet, had been 
restored by the President to take command of the Army of 
the Potomac, and the cheering for the adored commander 
had begun. 

Washington was again in peril. Lee was about to under- 
take the movement toward invasion of the North. Davis 
had revised his idea about aggression for he believed Lee 
to be leading a victorious army when terms could be made 
of his own choosing. His dream of European recognition 
would surely now come true. Lord Palmerston was writing 
Earl Russell that the Federals had "got a very complete 
smashing." Was the moment perhaps opportune to recom- 
mend a possible separation of North and South? This letter 
is of the date of September 14. Antietam was but three days 
away, which Lord Palmerston fancied would surely be a 
Southern victory. Then it would be time for England and 
France to make a move. He waited the news of Antietam 
anxiously} but not more so than President Lincoln, who had 
determined were it a Northern victory to issue his Emancipa- 
tion Proclamation. Antietam brought the knowledge that 
Lee's successful carrying of his army into Maryland on the 
words of a song and, it was hoped, up the winding ways into 
Pennsylvania had been checked. It was to be the stroke that 
would end the Northern Army and make possible Southern 
independence. It turned out to be the one that made possible 
the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation on the 22nd 
of September. 

The golden hours of the Confederacy faded in those Sep- 
tember days along Antietam Creek. When McClellan won 
the battle of South Mountain but three days before, he was 
on his way to Antietam, aroused with the knowledge that had 
been given him by the "lost dispatch" of Lee's stating the 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 201 

position o the Confederate Army as well as the outline of 
the march. Lee had knowledge too that it had reached 
McClellan and withdrew back of Antietam Creek near 
Sharpsburg. The day's battle that destroyed men faster 
than the autumn leaves were dying left a great record for 
the Armies. Lee's soldiers would have fought the second 
day. It would have meant further decimation by a larger 
force. Lee took his army back into Virginia by recrossing 
the Potomac. It had not become an invading army after all. 
It was all a great heroism. Lee's men were barefoot, many 
of them, and bleeding, but they fought to the end of that 
long day, those that were not lying in long rows in the corn- 
fields, fallen on their rifles. It was sunset time when Lee 
asked no more of his Army. 

On the Western front General Kirby Smith had taken 
Lexington. Davis' great hope was that Braxton Bragg 
would hold off General Buell and reach Louisville. Bragg's 
fortune in Kentucky kept Davis' native State from joining 
the Confederacy. His earlier success made this later failure 
the more sharp. 

In the Eastern area the success brought back Davis' wish 
to be in the field. Lee had broken his communications with 
Frederick when Davis wanted to join in the Maryland cam- 
paign that was to end the war. Daily Lee was hearing from 
his President. It required a fine skill on Davis' part to ex- 
plain Ills change of view that sanctioned an invading army. 
The South had taken the offensive, but at this time the 
President was so hopeful of recognition in Europe he could 
venture the change. By December, that had changed. He 
was telling the Mississippi Legislature when he spoke before 
them in December, " Tut not your faith in Princes,' and 



202 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

rest not your hopes on foreign nations." England had re- 
verted by this time to a strict neutrality. 

The long gray lines that held so well at Antietam were 
now broken. Lee was writing strange reports. He had taken 
every means in his power, he declared, to correct the evil of 
straggling. 48 The individualism of the Southerners was op- 
posed to discipline. Even the magic power of Lee could not 
hold his men together in the campaign into Maryland, and he 
used his cavalry as "eyes of the Army" to gather in the men 
who for one reason or another were slipping away. He felt 
"the greatest concern for the future operations of the Army." 
Pay was not coming regularly, and by this autumn time in 
1 862, the eleven dollars a month, when it did come, was not 
worth its face value. There were things to be done at home, 
and the men and officers too went back to attend to them. 
After Antietam this happened in both armies. The men 
were short of rations and Lee was short enough of men at 
Sharpsburg to be writing to Davis in this wise: "Some imme- 
diate legislation, in my opinion, is required, and the most 
summary punishment should be authorized. It ought to 
be construed into desertion in the face of the enemy, and 
thus brought under the Rules and Articles of War." He 
reported that "the brigades of Generals Lawton and Armi- 
sted, left to guard the ford at Shepherdstown, together con- 
tained but six hundred men." * 9 That marching army that 
went down the highway from Hagerstown, leaving its blood- 
stained footprints on the way like a patteran, deserved better 
things from these men of their own ranks. It was a problem 
of both armies. 

Political clamor made Jefferson Davis change his Secre- 
tary of War, and the choice this time was based on personal 
friendship. James E. Seddon of Virginia brought tact to his 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 203 

post, but not the subtlety of Benjamin. There had been a 
demand for Joseph E. Johnston, but this Davis resisted. It 
was said that General Johnston's hatred of Jefferson Davis 
amounted to a religion. 50 And this was nearly two years 
before his removal at Atlanta. The ailing Seddon made 
himself acceptable to the President, and he took over the 
duties of his office while Lee was assembling a new army 
after Sharpsburg. 

At the North Lincoln was hearing much the same sort of 
thing that Davis was being told. There was press abuse on 
McClellan's failure to follow up Antietam with a decisive 
attack. The winter days were coming when it would be all 
quiet on the Eastern front until spring, unless there were an 
early attack. November days brought the end of McClel- 
lan's military command, for in late October Lee had checked 
with Longstreet's corps the advance of the Army of the 
Potomac into Virginia, and within a fortnight McClellan 
became little more than a civilian. They called it Lincoln's 
greatest mistake, as the removal of Johnston before Atlanta 
was said to be that of Davis. 

Burnside, who had refused the President's offer to com- 
mand the Army in the field as often as Braxton Bragg did 
that of Davis, was now in command. His plan that carried 
the Army across the Rappahannock with Richmond as the ob- 
jective met a defeat at Fredericksburg, in December 5 but 
only after the Union infantry had crossed and recrossed an 
exposed plain six times, while the Confederate artillery, 
mounted on the heights above the river, mowed them down 
with great precision. After the firing had ceased the puri- 
tanical Jackson, who was accustomed to pray to his God be- 
fore battles, wanted General Lee to strip his men to the 
waist on this bitter December nightj in this way they could 



204 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

be told from the men in blue and make a bayonet charge 
upon the Union troops in the crowded town. 51 It was not 
Lee's idea of warfare and he refused the man whom he called 
"his right hand." 

Fredericksburg brought only partial elation to the South. 
It was to be the battle that would end the war. It took both 
armies into winter quarters waiting the spring campaign of 
1863, an d ^ brought gloom to the North. On both sides 
there were signs of war weariness. 

Spurred on by his Secretary of War, Davis made his first 
visit to the Western front. It was thought that his presence 
would hearten the troops. Virginia seemed far away with its 
fighting army and its capital of the Confederacy. He was 
supplied too with an idea of his Secretary's which was to place 
General Joseph E. Johnston in command of the Department 
of the Tennessee. He left shortly before the battle of Fred- 
ericksburg, and heard of it when he was with General John- 
ston in headquarters at Chattanooga. He had seen the troops 
under General Bragg at Murfreesboro where, he wrote Mrs. 
Davis, "the troops . . . were in fine spirits, and well sup- 
plied. . . . Much confidence was expressed in our ability 
to beat them [the Union troops] if they advance." S2 

When he spoke to the crowd that gathered about his hotel 
at Murfreesboro he told them they must defend the soil of 
Tennessee to the end, that he had no anxiety about Rich- 
mond, and again the magic hope he carried about with him 
like a charm European intervention would come, and end 
the war. 53 When Lee came to him at Richmond after Fred- 
ericksburg, with plans for "an aggressive campaign/' Long- 
street says, he told Lee that the war was virtually over} that 
it was not necessary to harass the troops. And others at the 
Confederate Capital said that recognition by the European 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 205 

Powers would come within thirty or forty days. This, how- 
ever, was a view Lee did not accept. 54 

When Davis reached Mississippi, and was among his own 
people, he told them that the attitude of the European 
Powers was disappointing. There was a change either of 
belief or information. But by the end of 1862 newspapers 
were not transported easily, and the Murfreesboro speech as 
given in the Tennessee papers doubtless did not reach Jack- 
son. From the coast the Charleston papers went to Rich- 
mond by sea, taking four days. 55 The size of the paper 
had been greatly reduced. The Charleston Mercury for 
some time past had been printing only a half sheet. It was 
as difficult to transport the paper to the presses as it was to 
circulate the newspaper after it was printed. 

It is impossible that by the time Davis reached either Mur- 
freesboro or Jackson, in the third week of December, he had 
not heard of the English Cabinet's refusal to accept the 
French Emperor's proposal of a six months' armistice, and a 
suspension of the blockade, which would open the Southern 
ports to commerce. An article had appeared in the London 
Times on the I3th of November stating this, and certainly 
his Commissioners were well informed on the matter and 
would have communicated the fact, knowing that the hope 
of recognition had dimmed to a point where it would not 
brighten again. The fact that the French proposal and the 
British reply had been made public simultaneously 58 would 
settle it beyond question. Davis doubtless preferred to be 
more frank with his own State, which had always given him 
so many honors, than with the group he was seeking to 
encourage at Murfreesboro. 

On the last day of the year he learned that the Bragg 
forces made good in the first day's fighting with the troops 



206 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

under Rosecrans but did not move them; and that after 
being driven back the second day General Bragg began a 
retreat. It was a bad moment on the Western front. It 
scarcely confirmed all Davis had said to the Tennesseeans 
but a few short days before, and his favorite, General Bragg, 
had disappointed him. 

The tour of the Southwest which Mr. Davis had just 
made had been undertaken to explain his policies, a defense, 
in short, and to capture, if possible, his critics with the old 
magnetism, by the charm of his voice. He chose the capital 
of his State, Jackson, to make his defense. There was the 
failure to invade the North to be explained, and the necessity 
of the conscript laws, which were never popular. Doubt- 
less mindful that at the time that Mississippi seceded a 
county had seceded from the State, he told them of his hope 
that "no conflict would arise between the States and the com- 
mon cause." He was fearful that State military laws might 
thwart those of the Confederate Congress. The link that 
held the States to the Confederacy was not a strong one. He 
called upon them to hold the Valley of the Mississippi, and 
urged that Vicksburg must not fall. He said further that 
the South could "never, never reunite with the North, a 
people whose ascendants Cromwell had gathered from the 
bogs and fens of Ireland and Scotland." 5T Carried on by 
the fervor of his oratory he momentarily forgot his own 
simple Scotch-Irish ancestry; and he was discouraged. 

At the moment his own plantation and that of his brother 
were under Admiral Farragut's control, whose authority 
now extended from New Orleans to Baton Rouge on both 
sides of the Mississippi. 

Davis left the Southwest with General Pemberton in com- 
mand of Mississippi, General Bragg in Tennessee, and Gen- 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR I 207 

eral Johnston in command of the Department. He reached 
Richmond wearied and worn, and it was two months before 
he left his house. 58 

He had had the painful experience of not being received 
as enthusiastically as his pride required. And he had learned 
or must have surmised that too many elements were working 
against him to be able to hold his people. 

The old year went out with a defeat in the Southwest. 
The new year would begin with plans for some brilliant 
work of Lee's Army. And Davis set to work preparing his 
speech for the Confederate Congress. 



Chapter XIII Four Years of War II 

1863-1865 

THE Emancipation Proclamation had been in effect twelve 
days when Davis read to the Confederate Congress his speech 
that embodied his views upon it. He told his Congress 
that the measure was the most execrable "recorded in the 
history of guilty man," and he assured them that unless 
they should direct some other course as more expedient, he 
should turn over to "State authorities all commissioned of- 
ficers of the United States that may hereafter be captured by 
our forces, in any of the States embraced in the Proclamation, 
and that they be dealt with in accordance with the laws of 
those States providing for the punishment of 'criminals en- 
gaged in exciting servile insurrection.' " He found in the 
Proclamation, however, something which would have a salu- 
tary effect. The fears of those who had apprehensions that 
the war might end by some reconstruction of the old Union, 
or some renewal of close political relations with the United 
States, would now be calmed. These were fears he had never 
shared. "The Proclamation," he declared, "affords the 
fullest guaranty of the impossibility of such a result." x 

In the North the Proclamation was received not as a great 
document with a message to mankind, but as having given a 
new meaning to the strewn battlefields. When the Prelimi- 
nary Proclamation had been issued in September, the effect 
it had in the North was shown in the November elections, 
notably in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, which turned 

208 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 209 

against the Administration. Motley wrote to his daughter 
of his satisfaction that the Massachusetts majority supporting 
Lincoln was nearly as large as the combined Democratic ma- 
jority in these three States. 2 But what Lincoln realized was 
that his policy had had no support in any State west of the 
Hudson. 3 It was therefore difficult to bring to his Congress 
the idea that in the Emancipation there must be gradual com- 
pensation to the owners of slaves. He would spare "both 
races from the evils of sudden derangement." Had this plan 
carried it would have been completed only thirty years ago. 
He had fixed the time as 1900. Lincoln was at the low point 
of his popularity. The Christmas season was saddened with 
the disaster at Fredericksburg. In the South, Murfreesboro 
on the last day of the old year, and the Proclamation becom- 
ing effective on the first day of the new, made the people 
only the more resolute to give and give their all to the end. 
Through the autumn months after the Preliminary Procla- 
mation had given notice that the Proclamation itself would be 
operative after January I, the opinion in regard to it moved 
about like a seismograph here and abroad. There lurked 
in some quarters the ugly belief that it was intended to start a 
servile insurrection; in others that it was the Northern move 
to curry foreign favor 5 but Earl Russell thought it "a 
measure of war of a very questionable kind." 4 In England 
the anti-slavery group now with something tangible to work 
upon began the more frequent meetings which gradually took 
place all over the United Kingdom. The English mind, 
receptive to the idea of abolishing slavery, found itself not 
functioning when asked to believe that a people would go to 
war to preserve the Union. The Proclamation served as an 
illumination to many and a way out of the confusion that 



210 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

had obtained in English thought. Meetings were held by 
that body of English opinion in sympathy with what the 
Proclamation would achieve. It was not, however, until the 
end of the year that Davis made his sharp criticism of Eng- 
lish official failure to recognize Southern independence. 

The "high moral purpose" intent which England seized 
upon to hold itself as strictly neutral gave Palmerston an 
opportunity for his wonted wit at a meeting in Edinburgh 
in the early spring, when he asked his hearers, after telling 
of the horrors of civil war, if Scotland were in a position 
historically "to object to civil wars having a high moral 
purpose." 5 

It was, however, mainly the artisan class that were in sym- 
pathy with the Proclamation and it was long weeks, even 
months, before it gained substantial support either in Eng- 
land or America. The meetings were not representative of 
official opinion. In America in the North and the Northwest, 
where war weariness was making talk of an armistice an indi- 
cation of opinion, it met with little more support. Every- 
where the Proclamation was thought to be a purely political 
measure, and not a world hymn in the throats of men for the 
ages. That took time. 

But it was the condition of the armies and the form the 
spring campaign would take that was engaging the minds of 
the authorities on either side of the Potomac. 

Since President Davis' return from the Southwest, he had 
been a sick man. His sensitiveness had been flicked upon as 
a wound by the consciousness that his people were against 
him. He was physically ill, but he suffered less acutely in 
that way than from the stinging criticism of his Congress and 
from the activities of some of the Governors in over-stressing 
the sovereignty of their States, about which he was hear- 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 211 

ing all the time. "The nation must be a team/' Woodrow 
Wilson said, in long after years. Davis might have said it, 
for he knew well the Confederacy must be, but it would have 
gone by the ears of Governor Brown of Georgia and Gov- 
ernor Vance of North Carolina unheeded. The Conscription 
Law and the appointment of officers were weapons of abuse 
directed against him that were rarely out of action* 

It was the hour of pride when the whole South was aglow 
with Lee's victories. It was the hour to build on the hope 
of the armies, but it was the hour when two years of war and 
a blockade, no longer a paper one, were making sharp re- 
minders of how long the trail was to the end. 

In Richmond the price of food was soaring. There was 
some talk of disbanding part of the Army just from lack of 
food. The soldiers were on "half rations of meat, one quar- 
ter pound of salt, and one half pound of fresh meat, without 
vegetables or fruit or coffee or sugar." Clement Clay was 
writing this to his wife in March and cautioning her about 
letting this information get out. His sympathy for the clerks 
and subalterns in the military establishment was great, for 
they could not get board on their pay. The government 
money was beginning to be questioned. Unless it were pos- 
sible soon to drive the enemy out of Tennessee and Ken- 
tucky and have the use of their granaries, he was doubtful 
of the outcome. 6 It was the thought of many and it was a 
problem the Cabinet was facing as to whether support of the 
Army was to be sent to the Western front, or, as Lee desired 
and counseled, that his Army be left intact for the advance 
into Pennsylvania which was then the plan in the making for 
the Army of Northern Virginia. Then, even with an abun- 
dance of foodstuffs, there was the question of getting it from 
one place to another. It was the old story of transportation. 



212 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

There was too the fear of Confederate money, how much it 
would buy, although it was not until this year that the dollar 
had ever fallen below thirty-three cents/ It was the profi- 
teer then as in any war who was fattening on the gains of a 
great demand with Inflation as his handmaiden. Men like 
Toombs, who were urging taxation and objecting to the Gov- 
ernment paying only two dollars a bushel for corn when the 
market price was three dollars, were fearful of the results 
to the Confederacy. Toombs declared that it was impossible 
to conduct a great war without taxing the people, and that 
paper money was not a sound basis of credit. 8 But Toombs 
was not the Georgian whom Davis heeded. For nearly a 
year past Benjamin H. Hill had been the spokesman for the 
President in the Confederate Senate. He was one of the 
younger men at this time, in his early thirties, and was to 
end his political life in the United States Senate. He had 
gained his Chief 's confidence and he became the defender of 
the Administration and smoothed the sharp attacks made by 
his fellow Georgian, Toombs, and others upon Davis. In 
December, 1862, he had summoned all the vigor of his ora- 
tory to defend some of the "sore spots" of the Administra- 
tion and especially Davis himself. The charge of favoritism 
in military appointments was put aside because he could say 
that " c not one civil commission 5 had to his knowledge been 
awarded by Davis to c an old political friend of mine,' " 9 and 
he held to the belief that Davis' great desire was above all 
others "the final and complete success in the revolution." 
He had not been Hill's choice for President, but Hill de- 
clared that in the present crisis he should feel it a duty to 
select Jefferson Davis as the Chief Magistrate. It was good 
politics, as well as an expression of opinion, with Georgia's 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 213 

Governor Brown balking the Administration efforts at every 
turn. 

One complaint had been that the people's demand for an 
invasion of the North was not heeded. The people did not 
know at the time that this would be the main issue in the 
Cabinet councils in these early months of 1863. It was the 
Army that was to bring the victory and secure the permanent 
independence. 

May Day the year before had seen Butler become Military 
Governor of New Orleans. Lee's plans for May Day this 
year were to put an end to the War and make impossible a 
like fate to Richmond. And the Union General at Chan- 
cellorsville, Hooker, then in command of the Army of the 
Potomac, whom Lee's Army was to meet on May Day, was 
of but little better stuff than that other May Day General, 
Butler. It took an Adams to write that about neither could 
a good word be said. 10 

The May Day of 1863 saw the beginning of the battle 
that caused the death of the Southern General whose great- 
ness every one acknowledged and admired. Even the Union 
soldiers had cheered him when one day he rode up to a 
picket, with the Rappahannock like No Man's Land a narrow 
strip between the two Armies, and his own men were cheering 
him. When the Union men asked the Confederate sentry 
what it meant, he told them "General Stonewall Jackson." 
Then the bluecoats cheered General Stonewall Jackson. 11 

In the springtime when Jackson might have been sent to 
the Southwest to hold Vicksburg, political influence or per- 
haps personal jealousy made Davis overlook him as the only 
man unless it were Lee himself who might have forced Grant 
from the Mississippi Valley, or directed, in General John- 
ston's place, the Army of the Tennessee. Instead he was left 



214 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

for brilliant work with Lee in the three days' fight at Chan- 
cellorsville with bog and bush and broken trees of the wilder- 
ness and springtime growth, when his dying words were for 
the care of his men his men, who through a pitiful tragedy 
in the dusk Jackson and his escort were thought to be 
Federal horsemen gave him the wounds. 

"The phantoms of a battle came to dwell, 
P the fitful vision of his dying eyes 
Yet even in battle-dreams, he sends supplies 
To those he loved so well. 

His army stands in battle line arrayed: 
His couriers fly: alPs done: now God decide! 
And not till then saw he the other side 
Or would accept the shade." 

Davis sent a flag to wrap about the body of this beloved 
General when it was brought to Richmond. And for three 
days the body lay in state in the Capitol. Mrs. Davis remem- 
bered that on the first day Davis found himself "staggering 
from a fearful blow 5 ' and unable to take up some detail of 
business. He could not think. 12 

The battle is called Lee's victory, a brilliant victory, with 
an army which Lee was writing his President was not his 
entire command. Numbers had been withdrawn to go to 
Longstreet, and he thought that as far as he could judge, 
advantage of numbers and position lay with the other side. 18 
He had some sixty thousand men. The Army of the Poto- 
mac that was based at Fredericksburg had 130,000 men. It 
was Jackson's victory until he accepted the shade, and at the 
end, when the Army of the Potomac had moved back across 
the Rappahannock, the gentlemen in Richmond managing 
the war could think upon the invasion plan of the North. 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 215 

And perhaps as well that supplies and reinforcements had 
not gone forward to Lee as he had asked. 

The Cabinet were now confronted with the two- fold prob- 
lem of what should be done for the relief of the Southwest 
with Grant closing in on Vicksburg, and what for Tennessee, 
where Bragg was facing Rosecrans. The success of Chan- 
cellorsville gave a buoyancy to a hope that was not lasting. 
There were some plain facts not to be concealed. The vol- 
untary response such as the nation gave to the Hoover food 
plan in 1917 and 1918 had no historical precedent in the 
South in 1863. When such a man as Toombs set an example 
of refusing to give up planting cotton and plant instead food 
products, the lesser people could not be blamed for refusing 
too. Cottonless days were not popular. The Impressment 
Act of March, 1863, became a necessity because what the 
South really understood about a war was fighting. They 
had gone to war largely on a question of State Rights, and 
any authority not deriving from the States was, in the last 
analysis, unacceptable. The military despotism that was 
essential to the carrying on of the war, and which Davis so 
bitterly complained of in the North, was as necessary in his 
Confederacy, so he learned, but he could not popularize it 
among his people. The law which practically commandeered 
supplies for the Army, had it been carried out to the letter, 
need not have worked for extreme hardship. Only surplus 
was to be taken, leaving ample supply for the owner, his 
slaves and his animals. There was to be proper certification 
and the amount paid, or a statement as to when it would be 
paid. 14 But the system did not operate as designed, in part 
because the people's State representatives did not let it. 
Governor Watts of Alabama put the matter harshly: "If we 
fail to achieve our independence in the contest, the failure 



216 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

will arise from breaking down the spirits of the people by 
acts of tyranny of our officers." 1C But the law in successful 
operation would not have sent a starving army into Penn- 
sylvania, nor crowded General Lee's dispatches with requests 
for supplies. The failure to pay as the supplies were taken 
up and the falling values of the Confederate Government 
credit, which ended in practically no funds at all, furnishes 
reason enough for the collapse of a plan essentially con- 
structive. 

The States suffered in different ways under the Act, and 
the Governors, largely through the jealousy of the war di- 
rection of Davis, made the work of the agents authorized to 
collect the supplies almost impossible. Their defeatism re- 
lieves Davis of much of the opprobrium his own people 
covered him with in the tragic four years. 

When it came to the impressment of slaves, the fat was 
in the fire. The old battle that waged through the fateful 
decade of 1850 to 1 8 60 in the Congress of the United States, 
that, like any other property, slaves might be taken into any 
State or territory had a, strange repercussion under the Im- 
pressment Act as modified in 1 864. Twenty thousand slaves 
were to be impressed for a year to work at any place within 
the Confederacy, the impressment for the Confederate Gov- 
ernment to be in accord with the State law 5 so many of the 
States scaled the number of slaves to be impressed for the 
States' use so as to leave none for that of the Confederate 
Government. When an inland railroad from Danville, Vir- 
ginia, to Greensboro, North Carolina, was planned by the 
Government as a safer means of transportation than the 
seaboard way, Governor Vance refused the Secretary of 
War's requisition of slaves to build it. 16 Other States whose 
Governors were more intent upon preserving States' Rights 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 217 

than the Confederacy followed in the same way. The nation 
that Mr. Gladstone thought Mr. Davis had made was not 
a "team." During the summer months Virginia joined the 
protest. By September the need was so great that five thou- 
sand more slaves were demanded by the Government, and 
an order was issued that any slaves found on the streets 
should be picked up. 17 A Confederate Congressional investi- 
gation was demanded of their President that he show his 
authority for such borrowed power that ignored the State 
law. The Government went back on to old ground when it 
declared that the Impressment Act gave full authority for 
such procedure since by it any property necessary for the 
Government might be seized, and indisputably slaves were 
property. 18 The situation was indeed one of "inexorable 
necessity." 

And while the phases of these strange demands were being 
thwarted by politics, by greed of speculators, by jealousies, 
the superb sacrifices of the women of the South went on 
unbroken even by their grief. Their "inexorable necessity" 
needed no legislation. "It has, perhaps, not happened twice 
in history that so great a number of civilized women," said 
Emily James Putnam, "were reduced from comfort to mis- 
ery in the same length of time as in the Confederate States 
during the last two years of the Civil War. . . . And the 
misery produced a type of heroism compounded of high 
spirit, endurance and efficiency that the world has agreed to 
honour as one of the most stimulating and admirable achieve- 
ments of the race." 19 

The remaining days of May, Lee left his army at rest. 
And the Cabinet and President Davis did too. Davis had 
been ill, too ill to leave his house. Oftentimes Cabinet meet- 
ings or military conferences were held there, but the meeting 



2i 8 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

with the Secretary of War, the President and General 
Lee on May 15, which was to have Gettysburg as its result, 
seems to have been at the Executive Office. 20 When General 
Lee came he urged his plan for the invasion of the North. 
His army would forage in the country, and the spring yield 
in the fields of Virginia would be for the people, who, for 
long now, knew the pinch of food. The President had set 
the example of simple living. One evening a few weeks be- 
fore, when Mr. Clement Clay dined with him at six o'clock, 
the menu was beef soup, beef stew, meat pie, potatoes, coffee 
and bread. Mr. Clay had told the President he wished that 
the Army in the field had more to eat and those out of it 
less. 21 But those out of it could scarcely have had less. 

This meeting turned on whether aid should be sent to 
Pemberton and Johnston in Mississippi, or whether the time 
was now come for the advance into the North. Lee had 
brought his army to a fine perfection. At that it was none 
too large. Divided, it would be all too few for the purpose 
he had. The Confederate man power was, as Lee had been 
writing Davis, constantly diminishing and that of the 
North, he thought, augmenting. There was need to take 
any and every advantage. The Northern newspapers which 
he read with such care were giving him much information 
in regard to the Federal troops, as RusselPs dispatches to the 
Times in the Crimean War furnished the enemy with the 
knowledge of the condition of the British Army before 
Sebastopol. And Lee hoped and counted on the war weari- 
ness in the North, which had shown itself in the successful 
Democratic elections, to help bring the war to an end. He 
made his plea to his Commander-in-Chief at this meeting on 
May 1 5, and it was granted. If Davis thought of Brierfield, 
his roses, the sloughs and bayous, and the wild heron rising 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 219 

from them along the great river, the decision must have 
come with a pang. A Southern historian thinks it the mo- 
ment of Davis' great patriotism, 22 when he abandoned the 
plan to detach sufficient troops from the Army of Northern 
Virginia to relieve Vicksburg and let General Lee take his 
army, such men, Lee said, as were never in an army before 
"They will go anywhere and do anything if properly led" 23 
up the valleys towards Gettysburg. 

For ten days messages reached the Confederate Presi- 
dent of the stress of Pemberton and Johnston. Reenforce- 
ments were sent from Beauregard in Charleston and some 
from Alabama, but Lee knew if his army were divided 
neither Virginia nor Mississippi could be saved, and he won 
Davis over to consenting to try to save Virginia. 

A Cabinet meeting was held on the 26th of May, for 
Davis was thinking still of his State. He knew its plight, 
and he personally wrote to Governor Pettus of Mississippi, 
requesting him "to use all practical means to get out every 
man and boy, capable of aiding their country in its need, to 
turn out, mounted or on foot, with whatever weapons they 
had, to aid the soldiers in driving the invader from our 
soil. 5 ' 24 

But the Cabinet supported Lee's view. And he took his 
Army northward in early June. A regiment of Pennsylvania 
militia burned the long bridge at Harrisburg, and turned the 
Confederate Army back, but they were three miles nearer 
that Capital than was the German army to Paris in 1914. 

It was in the last days of June that Lee had his whole army 
of seventy-five thousand in Pennsylvania. The war was to 
be ended here. 

The end of the first day of July saw a Confederate victory 
at Gettysburg. The plan as Lee had made it was perhaps to 



220 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

be realized. The second day it had seemed it would be, but 
Longstreet's Corps were late in coming, and at the end of the 
day Little Round Top had not been taken, nor had the other. 
At a spring near the foot of Little Round Top, after the 
day's fighting, the men of both Armies met and fraternized. 
It was the morning of the third day that -General Lee had 
said: "The enemy is there, and I am going to strike him." 
And by the evening of the third day had been the unfalter- 
ing charge of Pickett's men, that broke only "when muskets 
clubbed," and the laying down of Confederate arms near the 
sunset hour. 

With the passing of the fourth day when Lee had waited 
for the counter attack of Meade that did not come, he began 
moving his troops slowly back along the road away from 
Seminary Ridge ; the long trail of the wagons, the stumbling 
men worn with the three days of fighting still staggering 
on through the night in rain and darkness. He was bringing 
his Army back slowly across the Potomac, and he said, "It is ' 
all my fault." 25 Through that long night, perhaps he 
thought of the meeting with Davis less than two months 
before. Perhaps he thought that winning the President over 
to support' his advice to invade the North had lost the West- 
ern front the reinforcements that might have kept the Mis- 
sissippi closed. What he did not know, doubtless, was that 
on the morning of this July 4, General Pemberton had given 
up Vicksburg. 

By the end of the month General Lee was writing a dis- 
patch to Davis: 

"No blame can be attached to the Army for its failure 
to accomplish what was projected by me. ... I am alone 
to blame, in perhaps expecting too much of its prowess and 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 221 

valour. ... I still think if all things could have worked 
together it [a victory] would have been accomplished." 

He grieved that there was criticism of his troops and of 
the President, "who of all others are most free of blame." 26 
And the dispatch concluded with prayers not alone for Davis' 
health and happiness, but for "the recognition by your grati- 
fied country of your great services." 

"It is all my fault," stayed in his mind, and in early 
August Lee sent his resignation to Davis. "The general rem- 
edy," he wrote, "for the want of success in a. military com- 
mander is his removal." And his President replied: "To ask 
me to substitute you by someone else in my judgment more 
fit to command or who would possess more of the confidence 
of the Army, is to demand an impossibility." 57 

One more milestone was passed on the road to Appo- 
mattox. 

It was at the close of that long Fourth of July, when Lee 
and his Army were slowly gathering themselves together 
after the three days' struggle and beginning the long retreat 
toward Fairfield. Then came the rain, the torrential kind 
that broke up the heat and made a curtain with the night, 
and brought the Potomac to such a stage as caused Lee to 
write Davis, that "the unexpected state of the Potomac was 
our only embarrassment." 

The main purpose, Davis said, of the crossing of the 
Potomac by Lee and his men was to clear Virginia of 
Federal troops they would follow the Army of Northern 
Virginia as they moved North. Nor had it been part of the 
Confederate plan to fight a general battle, so far from the 
Confederate base, 28 he said. The topography did not make 
withdrawal an easy matter. His estimate of Gettysburg was 
that it might be regarded as "the eventful struggle of the 



222 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

War." But the battle had been waged on the wheatfields of 
Pennsylvania, thus fulfilling a declaration of Davis in the 
United States Senate, that the rights of the South should be 
carried there. The North was heartened, and his own critics 
had the chance to say that the Southwest had been sacrificed 
to Virginia. The disappointment to Lincoln that General 
Lee's army had withdrawn was because he too had hoped that 
the battle would have ended the war. 

It was the old story retold. General Meade did not fur- 
ther a plan for pursuing Lee's Army, and the war was not at 
an end. 

It was hot summer weather along the great river. It was 
the weather that always brought chills and fever in the 
Southwest. It was itself an enemy. The Armies were on 
semi-tropical service, and there was not enough knowledge in 
those days to handle forty thousand or more men in such 
a climate and keep them well. And the lush growth in the 
swamps, the canebrakes, made all movement difficult. 

At New Orleans, the river way was in Federal hands. 
Above Vicksburg traffic had gone on undisturbed for a year 
past, but the long reaches below Vicksburg to Port Hudson 
lay in the keeping of General Johnston and General Pem- 
berton. The spring floods had brought a break in the levees, 
for the river had been at flood stage* This too had carried 
sickness to the troops and suffering to the people. But Vicks- 
burg and Port Hudson must be held. That was Davis' 
view, 29 and one, he is at some pains to point out, that neither 
General Johnston nor General Pemberton shared. They 
were the gateways of communication for the Confederacy in 
Louisiana and Texas, and so sources of supply. In the 
Mexican War JDavis had known Matamoras well. He knew 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 223 

now that it was an important Mexican port for arms coming 
from Europe. 30 And he knew even better that the ports on 
the seaboard were under the watchful eye of the long patrol. 

Vicksburg must be kept. 

It was the point to control the trans-Mississippi, that part 
of the land that Davis even after the fall of Richmond 
believed he might reach, and, once there, in some magnetic 
fashion, might gather together an Army that would do 
much. But that was before he had heard of Appomattox. 

The long siege went on. The food that was near by, by 
some miscarriage, did not get to the Army. The department 
commander, General Johnston, failed to have it reach Gen- 
eral Pemberton. But before this, General Grant had 
brought his Army to the bluffs above Vicksburg and looked 
down upon the river and the Federal gunboats riding at 
anchor there. 

The surrender of General Pemberton on the Fourth of 
July, because he was starved out, with food enough and 
more for his force close at hand, brought the Confederacy 
to a crisis. The forty-seven days were ended, and no relief 
had been sent. The "Confederate Gibraltar" had fallen, 
the Confederacy itself had been cut in two, and the great 
river, like the Thames, was once again "liquid history." 
And the homely Lincoln made one of his unerring simple 
pictures "The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to 
the sea." 

It was a bitter blow to Davis. He at once came under 
the sharpest attacks he had yet received from his people. 
Pemberton had been his choice, and it was Pemberton who 
had surrendered. But Pemberton was fastened upon as the 
reason of failure by those of the South who were strongly 
anti-administration. The real cause was the bitter disap- 



224 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

pointment in the reverses of the summer. The Northern 
invasion had failed. The great river was no longer even in 
part in the hands of the South. It could go on its turgid 
way out to the Gulf and beyond, rising and falling with the 
recurring seasons, but the part it was to play in a great 
Empire was gone like the cries of the wild geese in flight 
over its swamps and bayous. Some of the "well informed" 
felt it useless to continue the War. General Joseph E. John- 
ston was one of the number. But neither Davis nor Lee 
thought so, and they came under criticism because of their 
view, 31 so the Confederate General Wayne said. 

Throughout this summer of 1863 Davis was a sick man. 
There had been the great strain in making the decision not 
to reenforce Johnston and Pemberton in his own State of 
Mississippi and to accept the view of Lee that an invasion 
of the North must come. The July day that brought the 
failure to the Confederate forces brought pain and anxiety 
and, admittedly or not, a sense of defeat to the man who 
never admitted an intellectual defeat. It was an intellectual 
defeat that had now come to Jefferson Davis. He had not 
devised a means to win his Congress, his military men or 
his people. He saw the fabric of his idea of a Confederacy 
begin to give way, and he had no intellectual recourse to 
avert it. The blame of the failure was fastened upon him. 
It grew in volume in the next two years. Vicksburg had 
fallen. Within a week a steamboat went from St. Louis to 
New Orleans as undisturbed as if war had never been. The 
Southwest and Lower South could only feel that in some way 
the Government at Richmond had failed them. 

They call it a valley, those long stretches among the hills 
in Eastern Tennessee where is found the Cumberland 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 225 

Escarpment with its curving edges running down from pla- 
teau to valley floor. It was not easy country to move an 
army about, but there \vas the Tennessee River finding its 
way betweea the Blue Ridge and the Cumberland Escarp- 
ment and Chattanooga was still in the hands of the Con- 
federates. In September they learned at Richmond that 
Rosecrans was coming nearer to Bragg, and that off to the 
East Burnside had taken Knoxville. But if Chattanooga was 
held, there was still communication with the Southwest. 
Later in the month there was word of Bragg, reenforced 
with troops from Virginia under Longstreet giving battle at 
Chickamauga Creek, which took its way in the valley between 
Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. But it was a 
Virginian's battle, that of George H. Thomas, who had the 
glory that afternoon, and because of it they called him the 
"Rock of Chickamauga," though its end was a great defeat. 
But Rosecrans had withdrawn to Chattanooga, concentrating 
his whole Army there, and was soon to be relieved of his 
command. And Bragg had not taken the victory that was 
so nearly his. The Federal authorities remembered General 
Grant, and it was he who was to encounter Davis' favorite, 
General Bragg. But General Grant's first act was to remem- 
ber General Thomas. This Virginian was given the com- 
mand of the Army of the Cumberland. 

The end of November saw Thomas' men make the charge 
on Missionary Ridge that ended in Bragg's removal from 
his command. Even Davis' loyal support of his favorite 
General gave way for the good of the service at that point. 
Bragg had failed before when he had Rosecrans under siege 
in Chattanooga, and he had failed in another way and even 
more because he had failed his own men. Davis made an 
attempt to save him when he left Richmond in October and 



226 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

went to Bragg's camp on Missionary Ridge. 32 But it only 
brought further criticism of the Confederate President, for 
he still kept him in command, although it was known how 
lightly Bragg's officers or men believed in him. In a month's 
time the battle on Missionary Ridge settled the matter , 
Bragg had to go, but he came to Richmond as the military 
adviser of the President. A new confidante had come into 
the official circle. Mrs. Davis said that Davis knew him to 
be "an able general," and he wanted him as his Chief of 
Staff. It was more that he would allow no public clamor 
to decide for him an officer's position. 

It was not until the middle of December that Davis finally 
decided to give General Johnston the command of the Army 
of the West. The moving finger was writing on towards 
the Atlanta campaign, and the final break between the Con- 
federate President and one of the most able of his officers. 
But at the moment the most vital thing was that his own 
people had lost faith in their Chief Executive. When he 
had left the Capital to go to Chattanooga he had relied on 
his own power to unify the interest of his officers. He met 
with little success. He took a review of Bragg's Army at 
Chickamauga. He went to Selma in Alabama where the 
munitions works were, to encourage the men there. This 
trip of the Confederate President included Charleston as 
well. He made indeed a circle of the Lower South to 
hearten his people for new sacrifice if need be. He had no 
message of hope for them really, although all he said was 
full of it. "The spring" would see the enemy no longer 
among them, he thought. The old magnetism was gone. 
The politicians were more and more getting into the saddle, 
and the politicians were telling the people that their Presi- 
dent was the cause of the Confederate failures. 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 227 

At Richmond they were waiting news from the Western 
front, and at the commissaries were paying sixty dollars for a 
barrel of flour, one bushel of potatoes, one peck of rice, five 
pounds of salt beef, and one peck of salt. 33 The papers were 
now issuing evening instead of morning editions for the cost 
of candles the light the compositors had to use was three 
and a half dollars a pound. 34 

The autumn months had found Lee and the Army of 
Northern Virginia back on the Rapidan. The Federal troops 
were on the Rappahannock. Both armies had dug in for 
winter, and it was Christmastide of 1863. 

In springtime it would be the same thing all over again. 
But with this difference, that Grant, now made General-in- 
Chief of the Union Army, with the revived rank of Lieu- 
tenant-General, had taken command of the Army of the 
Potomac, and was to match his strategy with that of Lee. 
There were the May days in the Wilderness and then at 
Spottsylvania, where the military specialists learn that mod- 
ern trench warfare was tried for the first time. 85 And "mere 
attrition" was a phrase used, and Lee was thinking of the 
valleys of the South that their yield might feed his armies. 
It was in that rough, scrub-grown country of the Wilderness 
that Grant must have thought of his days in Mexico. Those 
days along the high road to Saltillo, when that strange cry 
came "which began with a growl and rose to a falsetto 
scream." Now they called it, Grant's men, "the Rebel yell" 
as they heard it in these three days' terrific fighting in the 
Wilderness. 

And at Richmond, through these May days, the gentlemen 
managing the war at least were hearing much that would 
have heartened them were there reserves, were the trans- 
port service operating, were there funds, for Grant was los- 



228 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

ing his men fast, and after Cold Harbor, the loss staggered 
even the North. But there was little hope of increase in any 
of these sources. 

It was in June that again Lee saved Richmond, and that 
Grant, twenty-five miles away, was thinking further on this 
phrase "mere attrition," and the long siege before Petersburg 
had commenced. 

Davis had now begun his daily visits to Lee. He had at 
this time, it seems, a great hope. His Army on the Western 
front he had given to the command of the man he never 
wholly trusted 5 the %ald, quiet Joe Johnston, little Scotch 
Dominie of a General" whom his soldiers adored. Davis was 
planning to take command personally of that Army. He 
would cooperate with Lee in one great battle that would end 
the war. 36 This tired, war-worn man in these lonely rides 
out to Lee's headquarters would become again the soldier. 
He would cease to think of the thousand minutest details 
that wearied him past the point of endurance with their grip- 
ping routine j details that now, however carefully worked out, 
were showing no results. He would cease to be the political 
soldier. He would be the soldier in arms. There must come 
that moment which would spell success for the Confederacy. 
The way of attainment was not so clear to his soldierly mind. 

It was a grief -stricken man who took these lonely rides 
a man numbed by the death of his child, Joe, killed by a fall 
from the balcony of the Executive Mansion but a month 
before. Couriers came and went that day unheeded. A 
father had lost his son. There were those who remembered 
the ceaseless walking back and forth in his room throughout 
the whole of that night 5 the long pacing that sounded so 
strangely in the rooms below. And they remembered too 
this "gray-haired old man," for so he seemed, standing 




2 




CO 

h-, 

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FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 229 

bareheaded by the open grave of this son, a soldierly figure, 
straight as an arrow against the sky. 37 Empire, Anglo-Saxon 
domination, the independence of the South, the Armies now 
facing each other in gun sound of this child's grave all 
were forgotten. Jefferson Davis had lost a son. 

There was off to the Southwest Sherman, in command to 
face Johnston. He too had a full command which he had 
been given since Chattanooga, and all his force was called 
the Army of the Tennessee, with the Army of the Cumber- 
land and the Army of the Ohio. It was the command that 
during the summer and autumn he took across the State of 
Georgia. And it was in the choice of commander of the Con- 
federate forces to thwart that advance that Jefferson Davis 
made his cardinal mistake, the mistake that cost him the last 
ounce of good will of his people. He was an old man before 
many felt about him that he had been a President worthy of 
the Confederacy. It was not until he went again among his 
people years after the War that the old feeling in regard to 
him came back. He had removed Johnston from command 
before Atlanta. That comprehended the whole of his 
failure. And what the South remembered was that Sher- 
man's Army seared the State of Georgia and reached the sea. 
By then it was Christmas time in Savannah. If Johnston 
had not been removed . . . ? So the South reasoned. 

The long-time difference between Governor Brown and 
Mr. Davis played its part now. Had Brown been willing to 
send reinforcements to Johnston, without insisting upon ap- 
pointing their regimental officers, 88 had he, in short, been 
more mindful of the success of the Confederacy than of the 
letter of States Rights, the masterly retreats before Sherman 
employed by Johnston might have been more fruitful. 

The depriving of a State of what constituted any part of 



230 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

its defense was a misdemeanor in Governor Brown's eyes. 
Earlier in the year he was writing to General Joseph E. 
Johnston, then commanding the troops in the northern part 
of Georgia, for the return of rolling stock of the State rail- 
road as a legitimate demand of the State. He asks the Gen- 
eral to urge upon President Davis the return of two good 
engines and forty cars which he says is a fourth of the num- 
ber of which the road has been deprived by the Confederate 
Government. His final appeal is "Justice to the State of 
Georgia, to you and your gallant army, requires that Mr. 
Davis shall neither disregard nor neglect this require- 
ment." 89 He demanded that sufficient troops be left to 
safeguard the State and declared that the President had no 
power to call for the State troops. "I deny," he wrote the 
Secretary of War, James A. Seddon, "that the President is, 
or ever can be, without the consent of the State, the Constitu- 
tional Commander-in-Chief of the whole militia of the State. 
When we take the whole context together, the Constitution 
is plain upon this point." 40 

What the Cabinet at Richmond was realizing was that 
Atlanta must be held. Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chattanooga 
the list was long. It was a critical moment in Georgia. 
The President's old friend, Benjamin Hill, at the request 
of the Governor, went to Richmond. He went to counsel 
with the Richmond authorities, and was admitted to a secret 
session of the Cabinet, where the removal of General John- 
ston was under discussion. Davis, it appears, opposed it. 
"Gentlemen," he said, "it is very easy to remove the Gen- 
eral, but when he is removed his place must be filled, and 
where will you find a man to fill it?" And while the talk 
was going on, Sherman's Army was coming nearer and nearer 
to Atlanta. After the dedsion was reached, later that day, 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 231 

Davis, doubtless worn with the discussion and responsibilities 
of the matter, drove out to Mr. James Lyons' plantation 
for tea. 41 Mr. Hill had dined there previously and had told 
of the removal. "I could not help it," the President said 
when Mr. Lyons asked why it had been done. He put the 
blame upon Hill, who, he said, had urged it on behalf of 
the people of Georgia. And he told, too, how "violent" both 
his favorites, Benjamin and Seddon, were about it and would 
listen to nothing else. 42 

Soon the Richmond authorities received the news that 
Hood, the successor of Johnston and the gallant of the ladies 
of Richmond, was unequal to holding Sherman and had 
been defeated in two battles. 

In October, the President determined to try the old mag- 
netism with the people of Georgia. He had been denounced 
throughout the South for the Hood failure. At Macon he 
came to tell them that Sherman could not succeed, that the 
cause was not lost, that Sherman must sooner or later retreat. 
And then he returned to his earlier manner* "When that 
day comes, the fate that befell the army of the French 
Empire in its retreat from Moscow will be reenacted." But 
it proved to be a speech most helpful to the North this 
speech that told how important Atlanta was, and that it 
must be held to the last extremity. He took a review with 
his Generals. He was making the strongest appeal to the 
people he knew. "Let not men ask what the law requires, 
but give whatever freedom demands." 43 But in the course 
of the speech he had given the Union General information 
as to Hood's plan. 

He was back in Richmond but a short time when the 
report of Hood's failure in Tennessee reached him, and the 
stories of "Sherman's neckties," the twisted rails torn up 



232 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

from the railroad and bound around the trees, were making 
the picture of the devastation. Mobile had fallen with Far- 
ragut's ships taking the toll. What the Confederacy liked 
to remember was Early's raid in the Shenandoah Valley, in 
which he brought his men into the District of Columbia. 
But that was far back in July. What they knew now was 
that Christmas time in 1864 was not one of holly and mistle- 
toe in the Southland. There had been Thomas' destruction 
of Hood's army at Nashville in early December, and once 
more the critics of Davis could say that had he not removed 
Johnston before Atlanta, this second debacle need not have 
come in Tennessee. And by Christmas Day itself Sherman 
had reached the sea. But the end of the hopes of the South 
had really come when McClellan was defeated at the polls 
in November. 

By March of 1864 Jefferson Davis was saying, "We have 
no friends abroad." Within a few months he was realizing 
how perilously near the truth it was at home. The fall 
of Atlanta brought that about. It was all very well for 
Slidell to assure the Emperor at the races in the Bois de 
Boulogne that the loss of Atlanta was immaterial 5 it was 
quite another thing for the Confederate General Hood, 
whose business it was to prevent the city falling into Sher- 
man's hands, to say so. The President had to bear the 
blame. He had substituted Hood for Johnston, and it was a 
military judgment that cost him the support of his people. 
It was then that the rumors of the need of a dictator blew 
again through the land a dictator who should capitalize 
that superb war spirit of the South that for four years had 
burned like a white flame. There could have been but one 
military dictator and that was General Lee. But the man 
who could send his resignation to the President of the Con- 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 233 

federacy after Gettysburg, because he measured the failure 
of his Army by his own command of it, was not the man 
to overthrow a government in order to become its head. 
Rather he went about planning means to strengthen the man 
power of his Army now fast becoming the thin gray line. 
The only reserves were the blacks; from time to time there 
were signs that they must be enlisted to increase the Army, 
but the idea all but bordered on revolution. 

In the early part of 1 864, when the idea was first discussed 
with Johnston and some of his officers, a number approved 
although Johnston did not commit himself. A protest was 
made to Richmond by some of the officers, so the authorities 
declared against it, and then Johnston did. 44 The only hope 
the South had of increasing its man power was put over for 
a year until it was too late. It was another instance where 
audacity might have done much. But Davis was never 
audacious. 

Lee, the soldier, needed troops. The blacks alone could be 
called out, and he urged Congressional action to that end. 
Slavery, as Justice Lamar said later, could not survive a war, 
and Lee knew it must be given up. He had by January, 
1865, asked his own State, Virginia, to draft the negroes. 45 
It was that "new republic" that Lord Lyons had written 
Lord John Russell about that the South was fighting for 
now an independent nation. 

In his address to his Congress in November, 1864, urged 
on by his Secretary of State, Davis gave hint that the negroes 
might be used as soldiers. Mr. Benjamin, in the intervals 
of his preoccupation with foreign affairs, had approved this 
plan; he had, indeed, thought it might help to secure foreign 
recognition if the Confederate States would abolish slavery, 
but that failure was complete. 



234 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

The whole question was most confusing. It drew out 
bitter denunciation from those who felt that the Confederate 
Government was not only infringing upon States Rights, but 
upon domestic matters. It would be rather extraordinary for 
that Government to emancipate the slaves. 

The bill which finally passed, in March, 1 865, authorizing 
the raising of three hundred thousand negro troops, said 
nothing about emancipation. That delicate matter was left 
to the States. But it came too late to aid General Lee and 
the South was saved from any embarrassment as to its posi- 
tion, for no negro troops were ever in the Confederate ranks 
at the front. 46 The Federal lines around Petersburg were 
tightening. 

The winter had been a desperate one for the sick man who 
went on with his impossible task. The President had lost 
his hold upon his Congress. If any measure brought for- 
ward was thought to be one he favored, that was enough to 
defeat it. It reached a point where his Secretary of the 
Treasury, Trenholm, felt obliged to resign since the Senate 
Finance Committee had told him frankly that they would 
not under any circumstances adopt any suggestions he might 
make. Obviously they would be measures sponsored by the 
Davis Administration and the Congress would not permit 
the implication that they would sanction any such. But the 
Secretary yielded to his President's urging to stand by him in 
his hour of need, and so was with him when the Confederate 
Government left Richmond. 

Davis had been scourged by his own people for the fall of 
Atlanta and then of Savannah, and this was followed by a 
Congressional determination to take military direction away 
from the Executive. It was the method they took to deprive 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 235 

him of any real power. The Confederate Congress had 
passed an Act empowering the President to appoint "an 
officer, who shall be known and designated as General-in- 
Chief, who shall be ranking officer of the Army, and as such 
shall have command of the military forces of the Confed- 
erate States." 4T But his appointment of Lee as Commander- 
in-Chief cut away this Congressional plan, and Lee's restor- 
ing Johnston as head of the Army of the West which Davis 
permitted, made a way out for his sensitive pride and satisfied 
the demands of the people. But it was too late as so much 
else had been too late. 

A few days later Davis was writing Lee, ". , * I have not 
failed to appreciate the burden already imposed on you as 
too heavy to enable an ordinary man to bear an additional 
weight. Your patriotic devotion I knew would prompt you 
to accept anything which was possible, if it promised to 
be beneficial to the country. The honor designed to be be- 
stowed has been so fully won that the fact of conferring it 
can add nothing to your fame. . . ." 

The failure of the Hampton Roads Conference in January 
marked the close of the Vice-President's, Mr. Stephens', offi- 
cial efforts. They had begun when he became the Constitu- 
tion builder for the Provisional Congress, and among his own 
people there are still some who think him as inept in one as in 
the other. But it was Jefferson Davis who would consider 
peace negotiations only on the basis of recognition of the 
South as a separate country, and so instructed his Commis- 
sioners, thereby preventing any compromise of agreement 
being reached. President Lincoln's plan that the Confed- 
erate States should return to the Union on the basis of the 
Union paying for the emancipated slaves could not be con- 
sidered, for Stephens and the others had their written in- 



236 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

structions from Davis which admitted of only one ground for 
negotiation the independence of the South. The promi- 
nent citizen, F. P. Blair of Maryland, who was the means of 
bringing about the Conference, had in his possession two 
letters, one from Jefferson Davis in which he expressed his 
willingness to enter into conference with a view to secure 
peace to "the two countries," and one from Abraham Lincoln 
who expressed a similar willingness "with the view of secur- 
ing peace to the people of our common country." The im- 
passe was there before a meeting could take place. 

Once more, in the early part of February, Davis tried the 
familiar plan to hearten his people and made the speech in 
the African Church because it was the largest auditorium 
in Richmond that is yet talked about as the great speech of 
his life. The old magnetism was there and he caught and 
held the people as he always had done when they listened to 
him. He said, among other things, that from the commence- 
ment of the War he had believed peace through victory was 
the only one. And he plead with those men absent without 
leave to return to their posts. If only half of the number 
would return the enemy could be overcome. It was reckoned 
there were more than one hundred thousand "stragglers." 
And even the Richmond Examiner?* always bitterly against 
Davis, found space to carry his stirring appeal: 

"Let us then unite our hands and our hearts, lock our 
shields together, and we may well believe that before another 
summer solstice falls upon us, it will be the enemy who will 
be asking us for conferences and occasions in which to make 
known our demands." 

The wild cheering that broke out as he spoke must have 
solaced this man who had been so rebuked by his people, this 
man to whom any rebuke in his sensitivity was unendurable. 



FOUR YEARS OF WAR II 237 

There was ammunition enough and more until the end of 
the war. The factories had been built in the South and 
powder and shot and shell were ample. There was food for 
the Army and more way to the South and the Southwest. 
But the military problem of transportation was unsolved. It 
was one of the major causes of the South's collapse. The 
time was now at hand when Lee's army was starving and he 
was telling his President it was a question how long their 
physical strength would hold out. 

The prices in Richmond were fantastic. Bacon was selling 
at six dollars a pound, sugar at ten dollars or twelve dollars 
a pound. And the purchasing currency was printing press 
currency at that. Mrs. Davis had sold her carriage and 
horses, but they were bought 49 by some gentlemen of Rich- 
mond and returned to her. Then the problem became one 
of how they were to be fed. But the problem was not for 
long. 

There were Cabinet changes. Breckenridge had replaced 
Seddon as Secretary of War. Trenholm was dealing with 
the Department of Finance, now but a name, yet it was still 
a privilege to dine at his house and have his Madeira and 
hear Mr. Benjamin talk, the "gifted conversationalist." 
There were the other entertainments at Mr. Trenholm's, 
usually Saturday evenings. There was dancing and music, 
still the will to cling to the old ways of living. Distinguished 
foreigners would come in most correct dress. They were 
easily picked out from the men in from the front in their 
ragged uniforms. The four-year-old dresses of the ladies 
were a sort of uniform too. They had given and were still 
giving their all. But yet there was dancing Saturday nights 
at the Trenholms'. Then one day it all stopped. General 



238 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Lee had sent a dispatch to President Davis: "The movement 
of General Grant to Dinwiddie C. H. seriously threatens our 
position, and diminishes our ability to maintain our present 
lines in front of Richmond and Petersburg." 50 The date 
was April i, 1865. 



Chapter XIV The Confederacy and England 

IT was the doctrinaire who sat in the room marked "The 
President" at Montgomery, and later at Richmond, and 
evolved a curious foreign policy. So far as England was con- 
cerned, Davis knew that economic necessity would quickly 
bring about recognition of the Southern Confederacy, or so 
he reasoned. This in turn would mean an uninterrupted 
cotton market for the South. The usual outflow for the 
great Southern staple would be undisturbed. It all seemed 
so simple. The result would be at once a foreign and finan- 
cial policy and the Secretary of State, Mr. Toombs, who 
soon, however, preferred to be in uniform, and the Secretary 
of the Treasury, Mr. Memminger, who certainly had Mr. 
Davis' support in spite of protests, found their departments 
charted. 

The swift sending of the Yancey Commission within a 
month after he had taken office would ensure this plan of 
Mr. Davis. The mission was a failure, for, said the phrase- 
making Yancey, there were no instructions except to dwell 
on the justice of the cause and cotton. The weeks moved on 
and the cotton-lever policy of the Confederate President to 
secure recognition was to work for ruin. The men whose 
business knowledge could have furnished the doctrinaire 
President with the practical details and needs for utilizing 
the certain source of wealth of the South, were not heeded 
The planters knew very well what was needed j soon the 
press was to appeal to the Administration to let the great 

239 



240 " JEFFERSON DAVIS 

staple work for the Confederacy, but Mr. Davis was indis- 
posed to match minds. 

Before many weeks the South learned that Her Majesty's 
Government acknowledged their belligerent rights, but the 
dream of an independent nation was to be only in their own 
minds and in that of Mr. Gladstone's when, a year later, he 
made the Newcastle speech. "There is no doubt that Jef- 
ferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an 
army 5 they are making, it appears, a navy} and they have 
made what is more than either they have made a nation," 
was the famous utterance. It was in some such terms as that 
speech, months before it was made, that Jefferson Davis saw 
the future of the Confederacy, but delayed action that might 
have gone to making it a reality. 

Occupied with paper work and innumerable details that 
kept him hours on end at his office, there seems to have been 
time lost in getting from Europe before the blockade became 
effective the arms and material that would have sent the 
Southern Army into the field with reasonable equipment. 
The able Major Huse,*who was the purchasing agent in Eng- 
land, made contracts for future delivery, but apparently 
found nothing immediately available. At the end of the 
year he was writing of purchases made, and waiting shipment. 

Davis had understood very well the importance of having 
agents at work to secure arms and ammunition in the North. 
A few days after his election his letter, 1 dated February 21, 
1861, to Raphael Semmes gives very specific directions for 
such operations: "As agent of the Confederate States," he 
writes, cc you are authorized to proceed, as hereinafter set 
forth, to make purchases and contracts for machinery and 

1 This letter was published in Rise and. Fall, Vol. I, p. 311, with the names 
omitted. It is now accessible with the names in the volumes of the Davis 
Letters at the Confederate Museum, Richmond. 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 241 

munitions, or for the manufacture of arms and munitions 
of war. 

"Of the proprietor of the Hazard Powder Company in 
Connecticut, you will probably be able to obtain cannon and 
musket powder . . . and also to engage with him for the 
establishment of a powder mill at some point in the limits of 
our territory. ... A short time since, the most improved 
machinery for the manufacture of rifles, intended for the 
Harper's Ferry Armory was, it was said, for sale by the man- 
ufacturer. If it be so at this time, you will procure it for this 
Government, and use the needful precaution in relation to its 
transportation. Mr. Wright, the superintendent of the 
Harper's Ferry Armory, can give you all the information 
in that connection which you may require." It was prepared- 
ness of a sort. 

Captain Semmes had been instructed to find vessels which 
might be converted to naval use, but was unsuccessful at that 
time. 2 He had greater success later, in England, as the 
Alabama was to show. 

And Mr. Davis was given information as well. In one 
instance it took the form of a communication from a United 
States Senator from Indiana. The letter was quite explicit. 

My dear Sir: Washington, March i, 1861. 

Allow me to introduce to your acquaintance my friend 
Thos. B. Lincoln of Texas. He visits your Capital mainly 
to dispose of what he regards a great improvement of fire- 
arms. I recommend him to your favorable consideration as 
a gentleman of first respectability and reliable in every 

respect ' Very truly yours, 

JESSE D. BRIGHT 8 
To His Excellency Jefferson Davis, 
President of the Confederate States." 



242 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

This may have been of service to Mr. Davis, but Andrew 
Johnson saw to it that Bright was expelled from the Senate. 

Since the formation of the Confederate Government at 
Montgomery, Lord Lyons at Washington had been keeping 
the Foreign Office informed constantly of the so delicately 
balanced question of an oncoming war. Lord Lyons was 
well aware of Mr. Seward's effort to prevent if possible "the 
disruption of the Union." He was equally aware of Sew- 
ard's suggestion that this might be accomplished by providing 
"excitement to the public mind by raising questions with For- 
eign Powers," and he had so written Lord John Russell. He 
soon received the reply outlining what British policy would 
be, and it doubtless did not escape his observing eye that the 
Draft had been seen by both Lord Palmerston and the Queen. 
It bore the date February 20, 1861. The policy would be 
"very forbearing." They would show by their acts how 
highly they value the relations of peace and amity of the 
United States. "But they would take care to let the Gov- 
ernment which multiplied provocations and sought for quar- 
rels understand that their forbearance sprang from a con- 
sciousness of strength, and not from the timidity of weak- 
ness. They would warn a Government which was making 
political capital out of blustering demonstrations that our 
patience might be tried too far." 4 The Clustering demon- 
strations" suggest the hand of Lord Palmerston, for back in 
1855 he had put himself on record in regard to Americans 
by declaring "I take it they are mere swaggering Bullies* 
If, however, they should push matters to extremities . . . 
we have a deeply piercing blow to strike at their Southern 
States if ever we should be at war with them. Freedom to 
the Slaves proclaimed by a British Force landed in the South 
would shake the Union to its base." 5 This doubtless would 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 243 

not have been the startling procedure he would have recom- 
mended in 1861. The diplomatic phrasing of Lord John 
Russell to Lord Lyons served better at the moment. The 
draft ended with the basic reference to any discussion of 
Anglo-American relations. "If this tone is taken when 
necessary, and only when necessary, I have no fears that the 
American Republic will seek a quarrel with a nation sprung 
from the same parents, and united by language as well as by 
ties of kindred, and a long period of friendly intercourse." 6 
And the days wore on to the April crisis. 

The Yancey Commission reached London on the same day 
as did the news of the outbreak of the war, and England set 
herself to formulate what her policy was to be. 

The Commissioners were not received officially, but Lord 
John Russell had written Lord Lyons that should they re- 
quest to see him, he would receive them unofficially, and he 
understood that at Paris M. Thouvenel would follow the 
same course. He expressed, at the same time, the wish that 
the new American Minister, Mr. Adams, would arrive soon. 7 
Lord Lyons was thus informed as to what he might have to 
tell the Government to which he was accredited. Neutrality 
was so indicated. 

When the Commissioners did see Lord John Russell, no 
pledge of recognition was given them, but the machinery for 
the declaration of the belligerent rights of the South was 
turning rapidly, so rapidly indeed that England did not 
wait the actual arrival of the new Minister, but issued the 
famous Proclamation on the day Mr. Adams docked at 
Liverpool, where he had the news. 

A few days later Lord John Russell was writing Lord 
Lyons that Mr. Adams had come to see him at Pembroke 
Lodge and told him that "he had no wish to see us take part 



244 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

in the war, but he did wish us not to give assistance to the 
South. I told him we had no thought of doing so. That the 
sympathies of this country were rather with the North than 
with the South, but we wished to live in amicable terms with 
both parties." 8 This did not seem to the North often to be 
the case, but the South as the years went on believed it to 
be true. 

With Davis' Proclamation of the intention to issue Letters 
of Marque and Lincoln's declaration of the blockade, Eng- 
land had realized some of the difficulties which were before 
her. Those two Proclamations concerned her vital interest, 
her carrying trade. The freedom of the seas was to be kept 
for the ships upon their lawful occasions. 

The English Proclamation of Neutrality on May 13, 
1 86 1, was the first rebuff to the Confederate hope of recog- 
nition as an independent Government. This, said Davis, 
"was, in point of fact, an actual decision against our rights 
and in favor of the groundless pretensions of the United 
States. It was a refusal to treat us as an independent Gov- 
ernment." 9 And in that last sentence lay the beginning and 
end of the Southern foreign policy. No compromise was 
then or later to be accepted in the relations of the South with 
Great Britain or France, and cotton was to be the lever to 
attain recognition. The Proclamation did, however, recog- 
nize privateering as a right of the South. But the order of 
the British Government of June I, which forbade "the bring- 
ing of prizes into English ports or those of the colonies or 
any territorial waters of the United Kingdom," took the 
thunder out of the enterprise and was a sharp blow to the 
privateers that were being fitted out rapidly after Davis' 
invitation to those who desired Letters of Marque. By early 
May the Confederate Government was gratified to learn that 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 245 

there had been some three hundred applications for these 
Letters, so ready were gentlemen adventurers of the South to 
go down to the sea in ships. But in reality there were only 
a few ships that could be fitted out as privateers. 

Against this order of the British Government, the Con- 
federate Government made a vigorous protest. It was 
necessarily of more advantage to the North with its greater 
number of ships of commerce at sea. 10 Davis pleased the 
South in his denunciation of the order in the Congress at 
Richmond. 

The British fleet based on Halifax, in the spring of 1861, 
received from Admiral Milne instructions as to the strict 
neutrality to be observed by all officers under his command. 
It was, in short, of that type which required it should be 
observed in thought as well as in deed, and read specifically, 
"to abstain in any intercourse you may have with [officers or] 
Citizens of the United States or the Confederated States 
not only from acting but expressing sentiments contrary to 
Her Majesty's Pleasure, and you will enjoin the same line 
of conduct upon all under your orders." 1X By the end of 
this year the famous incident of the Trent strained this 
thought-and-deed neutrality almost to the breaking point. 

In the meantime the long patrol began its duties along 
the coast to observe how effective was the blockade an- 
nounced by President Lincoln. Great Britain as a signatory 
to the Declaration of Paris was quite aware that a blockade 
to be effective must be binding. But it remained for Lord 
John Russell to make a somewhat elastic definition of "effec- 
tive" in a letter to Lord Lyons at Washington, and its elas- 
ticity was a rather severe blow to Confederate hopes. This, 
however, was after Captain Wilkes and the San Jacinto 
had brought the United States and England to the point 



246 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

where Lord Palmerston could indulge his passion for war 
threats, and Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell were not to have 
a continuous voyage, technically or otherwise. The Yancey 
Commission, which Consul Bunch had characterized so mi- 
nutely for the benefit of the Foreign Office, had failed, and 
so thoroughly that Davis decided upon sending the special 
commissioners, Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell, to replace them. 

Davis* choice of these two gentlemen to act as Com- 
missioners from the Confederate Government to England 
and to France has been regarded as rather more fortunate 
than his other selections. Mr. Mason, a handsome man and 
a notable figure when in the United States Senate, dressed 
in Virginia homespun and having the air, so Charles Francis 
Adams thought, of owning the Senate Chamber, did not, 
however, secure the hoped-for results in England. The ob- 
serving and astute Mrs. Chesnut did not think so, and said 
so to Russell of the London Times, when she met him at the 
President's house. "The sending Mr. Mason to London 
is the maddest thing yet, worse in some points of view than 
Yancey, and that was a catastrophe." 12 Before speaking she 
made quite sure that Mr. Davis was not within hearing. Mr. 
Slidell, the Commissioner to France, it was thought, had all 
the qualities of address and social experience together with 
his knowledge of the language that would make him highly 
useful in teasing the vanities of the Emperor. Also his law 
partnership with Mr. Benjamin, who was daily coming to be 
more and more the close associate of President Davis, had 
familiarized him with the subtleties of that Oriental mind, 
whose directions he would be likely to heed. On the whole 
Mr. Slidell appeared to be an excellent choice. 

The San Jacmto, commanded by Captain Wilkes, was in 
the Bahama Channel the night of November 8, 1861. She 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 247 

was there because her Captain had picked up the informa- 
tion in Havana Harbor that these gentlemen, Mr. Mason 
and Mr. Slidell, would be on board the mail packet, Trent. 
The San Jacinto was homeward bound after a cruise on the 
African coast, and her captain had been out of touch with the 
Navy Department long enough to be willing to take some 
independent action. In this instance it took the form of 
making a private capture, since he acted quite without 
authority from the Department. A shot fired across the bows 
of the Trent brought her to, and Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell 
were transferred to the San Jacinto under the protests of the 
Captain of the Trent, as well as those of the English naval 
officer in charge of Her Majesty's mails on the ship. Anglo- 
American relations suffered a sea change. 

Captain Wilkes' action obliged Seward and Lincoln to find 
a means by which these gentlemen should be released from 
Fort Warren in Boston Harbor and the British Government 
be satisfied. While this was going on Londoners watched 
reinforcements marching through St. James's Park on their 
way to Canada and the Great Eastern became a British troop- 
ship outward bound to Quebec. Admiral Milne's fleet was 
augmented, and the Law officers of the Crown were prepar- 
ing a legal opinion as to whether or not Captain Wilkes was 
within his rights, 

Lord Palmerston, still carrying his premiership with fine 
vigor, was none the less a man of seventy, and in the fatigues 
of his office may have failed to understand the opinion as 
given to him by these Law officers in the Conference which 
he had with them on the nth of November. His familiar 
letter to Delane of the Times, dated the nth, expresses 
regret that in the opinion of these officers, Captain Wilkes 
was within his right, according to the English principles of 



248 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

international law, in holding up the Trent and taking 
Davis' Commissioners off. But the report which the Law 
officers submitted to Earl Russell the long familiar "Lord 
John" had been superseded by the newer title on November 
12, states exactly the contrary. 13 So while these officers may 
have changed their opinion within twenty-four hours, or 
Lord Palmerston's understanding perhaps been at fault, it 
is clear it was not changed because of the fury which was 
aroused when news of the seizure was brought at the end of 
the month, a charge that was sometimes made. Meanwhile 
the dying hand of Prince Albert "softened" the message sent 
to Lord Lyons at Washington, and the South reluctantly 
realized that there would be no war between the United 
States and England and recognition was yet further away. 
The South would have to make fresh effort were the Con- 
federacy to succeed. Davis issued one of his numerous 
Proclamations that November 15 should be set aside as a 
Day of Fasting and Prayer. 14 

The year 1862 was to bring the attitude of England 
toward the South to a crisis. Notwithstanding the hardship 
the blockade pressed upon England, it did not coerce her into 
recognition of the South as an independent nation. The 
Cabinet was disposed to move with caution. The North had 
not overcome the South. On the contrary, the reports from 
America, through the summer, were showing the superb 
resistance of the South in spite of the defeats of the first 
half of the year. The war in its hideous reality was stirring 
the world. It was perhaps a moment for "good offices." 
The large ship owner, Lindsay, Member of Parliament, 
thought it had arrived and gave notice of offering such a 
motion. Lord Palmerston on seeing Lindsay's letter, June 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 249 

19, 1862, to Lord John Russell added his views on the 
subject: 

"This seems an odd moment to choose for acknowledging 
the separate independence of the South when all the sea- 
board almost and the principal internal rivers are in the hands 
of the North, and when one of the two large armies of the 
South seems to have been split in fragments. The South may 
and probably will maintain the contest, but we ought to know 
that this separation is a Truth and a Fact before we declare 
it to be so. Moreover, they would not be a bit the more inde- 
pendent for our saying so unless we followed up our declara- 
tion by taking part with them in the war." 

Lord Palmerston in his best manner then states his view 
of Lindsay. "As to Mr. Lindsay's opinion [sic] that he has 
secured the support of both sides of the House that is no 
doubt founded in his own belief, but he has shown that 
his credulity somewhat outstrips his reason." 15 

Mr. Lindsay was an unfortunate choice for the South to 
have made to represent their interests in the House of Com- 
mons. That self-appointed interviewer of Napoleon III on 
recognition indeed made ready to move in Parliament for 
recognition of the Southern States, but postponed it when 
Lord Palmerston made it clear that the Government would 
be opposed to it. The more difficult question of mediation 
was posed by Lindsay in July in a debate, but Palmerston 
again had it understood that the Government would be 
placed in the position of having taken sides 5 and the motion 
was withdrawn. Neutrality was again made safe. 

It was the period of both Mr. Mason's and Mr. SlidelPs 
greatest activity. 

There had been some stir when M. Mercier, the French 
Ambassador at Washington, made his historic visit to Rich- 



250 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

mond. He had conceived the idea that the moment was 
ripe for recognition of the South, and Seward helped him 
to the point of aiding him to make the trip. It was the dis- 
tress period of the cotton shortage in both England and 
France, and M. Mercier's visit was somewhat tempered by 
a desire to have trade with France resumed. He found the 
gentlemen at Richmond more intent than ever on staking 
their all as an independent nation. He told Lord Lyons on 
his return that he did not consider the time favorable for 
recognition of the South, although he believed that ulti- 
mately it must come. The situation was neatly put by Lord 
Russell when he said that if England and France were to do 
anything it must be on "a grand scale. It will not do for 
England and France to break a blockade for the sake of get- 
ting cotton." This view was oddly enough shared by the 
vitriolic editor of the Richmond Examiner y Pollard, when he 
wrote of the puerile argument" of President Davis "about 
the power of King Cotton" which amounted to this "that 
the great and illustrious power of England would submit to 
the ineffable humiliation of acknowledging its dependency on 
the infant Confederacy of the South, and the subserviency 
of its Empire, its political interests and its pride, to a single 
article of trade that grows in America! " 16 

There was a period of quiet but soon the excitement was 
back again on mediation and its rumors, with the failure of 
McClellan before Richmond, and Mr. Adams was informing 
Earl Russell of President Lincoln's views on any attempt at 
mediation. Yet another stir came with the Emperor's 
famous telegram on July 16 to his Foreign Minister, M. 
Thouvenel, then in London "Demandez au gowuernement 
Anglais s ) il ne crolt pas le moment venu de reconnoitre le 
The Emperor had just received Mr, Slidell at Vichy, 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 251 

and this word from across the Channel roused Southern 
hopes. With the adjourning of Parliament in August, how- 
ever, rumors were stilled while the Emperor continued his 
baths at Vichy and Mr. Gladstone made his epochal journey 
to Newcastle. 

Mr. Gladstone too had for some time fancied mediation in 
concert with other Powers of Europe might be effective. He 
was taking the long view of the statesman at the same time 
he was regarding the immediate effect on the balance sheet 
of the Empire. Notwithstanding the loss to England 
through the cutting off of the cotton supply, the commercial 
treaty with France, which had been Cobden's great contribu- 
tion, brought up the British exports to that country more than 
double, and Mr. Gladstone as Chancellor of the Exchequer 
could not be wholly disheartened although the export trade 
showed a bad drop of some ten millions sterling by the end 
of 1861, and by the end of 1862 a further drop of another 
million which could be laid directly to the cotton shortage. 17 

But the blockade had produced great suffering among the 
factory workers if it had not so acutely affected the trade 
balance. Mr. Gladstone was moved to contribute to their 
relief, and it took the form of bringing to Hawarden some 
of these Lancashire operatives, now out of work with the 
closing down of the mills, to make the paths in the park. 
With this human reminder of hardships the war was produc- 
ing, his mind worked more toward mediation, and then came 
the eventful journey to Newcastle and the speech now be- 
come a commonplace. 

Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell were flirting with this 
idea of mediation as well, and so Lord Palmerston wrote Mr. 
Gladstone, on the eve of the visit to the Tyne. With such 
plans occupying the mind of the Chancellor of the Ex- 



252 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

chequer, he hoped the proposals of the mediation and the 
suffering in Lancashire would not be linked together ! Noth- 
ing could have been more exemplary than the behavior of the 
Lancashire men, but even if in a single instance there were to 
be an outbreak of protest, it might indeed make England's 
position seem to America that she was thinking of her own in- 
terests rather than the broad one of humanity. 18 Doubtless 
with the knowledge he had that Lord Palmerston and Lord 
Russell had exchanged views as to mediation first, with rec- 
ognition of the Southern States to follow, he permitted him- 
self the famous emotional utterance at Newcastle. 

The effect was immediate and far reaching. It appeared 
that a Minister of the Crown was speaking for the Govern- 
ment. That was the whole point, for the year before, im- 
mediately after the formation of the Confederate Govern- 
ment at Montgomery, the Times had said "the Seceding 
States have now constituted themselves a nation," 19 and it 
was simply one of many other things the Times had to say. 
But the South had a hope that was not to be fulfilled. And 
young Henry Adams, who had fancied his education once 
before would be completed elsewhere than in London, be- 
came certain of it now, for his father let the rumor become 
audible that he might be asking for his passports. 

A month later Gladstone was writing the Duchess of 
Sutherland that he was not aware that he had ever at New- 
castle, or anywhere else, expressed a sympathy for the South- 
ern cause or praised President Davis. It required some years 
to go by, some thirty-four in fact, before he mantled himself 
in repentance and left a fragment telling how great was his 
mistake. 

Mr. Gladstone, in his sympathy for the South in this same 
year, had another project in mind which, had he gone so far 



as to put it into a speech, would doubtless have led to a lasting 
repentance. It was to offer Canada to the North if she would 
let the South go. 20 Happily he got no further with it than 
putting it in a letter. But Lord Palmerston was deprived of 
a rare bit of spice. Mr. Gladstone had further to free him- 
self, for he seemingly had supported his belief in Mr. Davis' 
creation of a nation by subscribing two thousand guineas to 
the Confederate Loan. He afterwards declared the appear- 
ance of his name in the list as "so mischievous a forgery." 21 
A few days before the letter to the Duchess of Sutherland 
he prepared a memorandum for the Cabinet, 22 when his views 
on the American War became more sharply defined in regard 
to mediation. In brief they were: no interference must be 
taken by England alone, but there must be a concert of 
Powers. England, France and Russia, as the three greatest 
Powers of Europe, would probably be the right one. Russia, 
he thinks, would supply "in the largest measure the one vital 
element, otherwise deficient, of traditional and unquestioned 
friendliness to America." If any recognition ensues it must 
be accomplished with the understanding of continued neu- 
trality. The stalemate moment of the two Armies, with the 
failure of invasion, he takes to mean that the North has failed 
in its aggressive purpose. It was a good moment, too, for 
the sympathies of the people of England were drawn to the 
South. 

He refers again to the possibility of some outburst on the 
part of the heretofore exemplarily behaved Lancashiremen. 
But the crux comes at the point that the war has inflicted 
"beyond all comparison" the greatest suffering on the other 
countries of the civilized world, a circumstance which he felt 
would give these countries the right to speak, should they 
care to, on the war continuing. He praises the daring and 



254 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

tenacity of the South, as likely to lead to its independence. 
He would use moral force as well in this "interference" to 
mitigate if not to remove slavery. And with the independ- 
ence of the South coming nearer and nearer, he thinks delay 
in England's interference will not give her much of a moral 
title to urge the claims of the slaves upon the Southern 
Confederacy. 

Lord Palmerston's ardor for interference, however, had 
somewhat cooled after the news of Antietam. He had ex- 
pected a decisive Southern victory, and now it might be well 
to wait for further developments before recognition of the 
South should be made. 

The interest of France in the matter was being furthered 
by Slidell. Soon the part the Emperor was prepared to play 
appeared in his offer that France, together with England and 
Russia, should call for an armistice. The Emperor's sug- 
gestion was an armistice of six months and a suspension of the 
blockade which would open the Southern ports to European 
commerce. 

In the end Russia refused 5 the English Cabinet, led by 
Lord Palmerston, who permitted his neutrality in this instance 
to be of deed rather than thought, concluded for a number 
of worthy reasons that the time was not opportune, and the 
Times became ecstatic over the Cabinet decision and quoted 
Mr. Cobden about its being cheaper to feed Lancashire "on 
turtle and venison than to plunge into a desperate war with 
the Northern States of America, even with all Europe at our 
back." 23 

The partition of the United States occupied the minds of 
the Chancelleries of England and France in curious fashion. 
There were those in England who would have been glad to 
see a permanent separation of North and South because it 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 155 

would be less formidable to British interests. There were 
those in France led on by the ingenious hopes of the Emperor 
who believed the separation would throw the sympathy of 
the South to his Mexican venture, and France be served. 
Both England and France always held in reserve their horror 
of slavery to aid them in extricating themselves should their 
neutrality cost too much. It was a period of many diplomatic 
gestures. 

Mr. Gladstone was right when he said the fortunes of 
the South at this time were at their zenith.- The agents of 
the Confederacy at work in London and Paris were meeting 
with encouragement. 

And at Richmond Davis might well feel that his for- 
eign policy was sound. Mr. Benjamin had been his Secre- 
tary of State since March, so rapidly had he moved him 
from one Cabinet position to another. There was, indeed, a 
brief time when he was both Secretary of State and Secretary 
of War. Now Benjamin was more constantly at his side, 
and the South knew that the flatteries of the Secretary be- 
came the ideas of the President. Mr. Benjamin never lost 
his faith in the nostrum of European recognition for the 
South. That idea alone would have made him acceptable to 
Davis. European recognition meant Southern independence, 
and to secure that was, in brief, the foreign as well as the 
domestic policy of the Confederacy. 

Years after the war Benjamin had not changed his view. 
Living luxuriously in London, a successful member of the 
English Bar, with little bitterness towards the Northerners 
except for having burned his Law library and drunk his 
celkr of old Madeira, he could still be impatient with Rus- 
sell of the Times, on this matter of recognition. "I consider 



JEFFERSON DAVIS 

your Government made a frightful mistake which you may 
have occasion to rue hereafter," 24 he told him. 

Throughout this year of 1862 excitements came and went. 
The news of the fall of New Orleans for a moment stayed 
British opinion. Then the famous Butler "woman" order, 
at New Orleans, published in the Times, gave an occasion 
for the press to vent itself, and one to Lord Palmerston 
and Mr. Adams to exchange vivid notes, and official and 
social visits ceased between Mansfield Street and Cambridge 
House. Jefferson Davis issued a proclamation in which 
he declared Benjamin F. Butler to be a felon, and that he 
no longer be considered or treated as a public enemy of 
the Confederate States of America, but as "an outlaw and 
common enemy of mankind. And if captured to be immedi- 
ately executed by hanging." 25 

This year in its diversions had included those of allowing 
the Alabama and the Florida to leave the Liverpool docks, 
a procedure that divided the honors with Gladstone's speech 
in rousing public clatter, and gave Lord Russell an oppor- 
tunity to repent as well as Mr. Gladstone. The North At- 
lantic British Squadron were keeping their eyes fixed on the 
seaports at the South 26 hoping to discover illegal procedure 
on the part of Northern Captains in the blockade. It was 
another strained moment in Anglo-American relations. 

How far the Emancipation Proclamation which came at 
this time changed British opinion is debatable. What it did 
do was to unify Middle Class opinion and gain the cheering 
support of the Labor Class. And then there emerged the 
belief that, after all, the war had been undertaken against 
slavery, for the English mind had not found it easy to grasp 
the idea of the preservation of the Union. 

By the early part of 1863 there was a revival of cor- 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 

respondence over the subject of the Laird rams those 
would-be Commerce Destroyers of the Confederacy for 
the Alabama depredations had caused communications to 
Lord Lyons from Seward that the Senate had at hand a bill 
whereby Mr. Lincoln would have power to issue Letters of 
Marque, and a snowstorm of letters had passed between 
Mr. Seward, Mr. Adams and Lord Russell. The passage 
of this bill was the lever Mr. Seward used to prevent further 
ship building for the Confederate States. 

Lord Russell, whose five-day inattention to the communi- 
cations about the Alabama gave her the chance to put to sea, 
set his mind a little more actively on the question of the rams. 
He wrote his Under Secretary that they should not be 
allowed to leave the port of Liverpool until they were quite 
clear of any suspicion. If they were "not for France, Tur- 
key, Egypt or any State in alliance with the Queen, obviously 
they must be for the Confederates." The burning of his 
fingertips made Lord Russell cautious. He declared that if 
the Law Officers did not consent to detain them he himself 
would go to London and argue the point with them at the 
Treasury. Then he inquired why the Lairds had not been 
asked officially before, adding: "Messrs. Laird by stating that 
they wished to try this vessel against vessels of war in the 
Channel Fleet admit that their vessel is intended for purposes 
of war." 27 This was in September, 1863, and the news from 
overseas had not brought word of Confederate victories. 
Lee had withdrawn the long gray line back from Seminary 
Ridge, and Grant had come down over the bluffs at Vicks- 
burg. 

The year had been one of alarums and excursions and press 
attacks, and neutrality was tossed about like a soccer ball. 
The tactful Lord Lyons was wearied with his efforts in keep- 



JEFFERSON DAVIS 

ing a balance of peace between his home Government and the 
one to which he was accredited. And wearied perhaps even 
further by the considerably more than nine hundred notes he 
had received from Seward in the course of the year, and the 
difficulties in connection with the British Consuls which 
finally resulted in the Confederate Government declining 
to have them either live in or perform their duties within the 
limits o the Confederacy. 28 The United States Government 
too had its own views on British Consuls, as Consul Bunch 
learned. 

The "slight, perpetual smile" of Mr. Benjamin doubtless 
must have at times forsaken him. He also finds occasion to 
complain of the treatment by England. Mr. Roebuck had 
made his famous motion in the House that England unite 
with Napoleon III to interfere for the benefit of the South, 
but made the mistake of claiming to be an emissary of the 
Emperor to make the request. The result was brilliant 
oratory from John Bright, who .as well as Lord Palmerston 
scourged him for "trying to represent the Emperor on the 
floor of the House of Commons," and the motion did not 
come to a vote. Thereafter the whole subject of recognition 
never came to the point of a debate of importance. And at 
this time, the entire debate had been in a sense one of Eng- 
lish politics to overthrow the Ministry if possible, with Dis- 
raeli in the offing to bring the Tories into power. Roebuck 
had written to Slidell, "I am told that Disraeli in the ad- 
journed debate will come out on our side," but the way of 
politics changed that. 29 

England was waiting word of Lee's triumphant advance 
to the North. Washington was thought to be in danger, and 
M. Mercier had even arranged for a French warship to be at 
hand to take him away. And readers of the London Times 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 259 

were hearing from a New York correspondent that Lee's suc- 
cess would be hailed by the North and that "he and Jefferson 
Davis might ride in triumph up Broadway amid the accla- 
mations of a more enthusiastic multitude than ever assembled 
on the Continent of America." 80 It was believed that the 
North was war weary and would be glad to be through 
with it ail- 
However, neutrality triumphed with the news from Amer- 
ica, but great harm had been done the Southern cause, and 
soon Mr. Mason learned from Mr. Benjamin that the Presi- 
dent desired him and his secretary to leave London. The 
mission of Mr. Mason was at an end. And at Richmond- the 
President knew that his foreign policy, so far as England 
was concerned, could not be based on her recognition of the 
South. 

In a few weeks Davis delivered his address to the Con- 
federate Congress with its sharp criticism of English neu- 
trality and its praise of Southern patriotism. 

The long memory of diplomacy perhaps operated in Eng- 
land's mind when she engaged to keep so strict a neutrality 
over and above its recognition of the belligerent rights of the 
South. The red dispatch boxes in the Foreign Office un- 
doubtedly contained at least a newspaper clipping of a speech 
Davis had made as Senator in 1 848. "I have no confidence," 
he said, "in the humanity of Great Britain, the great slave- 
trader of the world." The work of Wilberforce and the 
others must have momentarily escaped his mind, for it was 
some fifteen years since slavery had been abolished under 
the English flag, and England had paid the slave-owners 
twenty million pounds for their slaves. At the time he was 
in the full stride of a plea for Empire, the "manifest des- 
tiny" plea, Yucatan, the Isthmus canal project across Nica- 



260 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

ragua and the Caribbean possibilities, and he wanted no hin- 
drance. "If she [England] should interfere on any pretext 
in the affairs of Cuba in order to get a footing there," the 
annextionist went on, "I would regard it as a proper occasion 
to interfere." sl 

But Davis was once again to find himself enmeshed with 
the possibilities of recognition, and now coupled with a 
strange phrase for him to hear. It was in the last harried 
months of 1864 and those early ones of 1865, with his Con- 
gress bitterly against him, that his fertile Secretary of State 
dared the suggestion. It was hard to accept it. Could Eng- 
land be baited to recognition by the offer of the South to 
abolish slavery? Mr. Benjamin thought so. He even 
thought the negroes might be conscripted for military service. 
The gaps in the ranks of the Confederate Army must be 
filled. And once again the choice of the Commissioner to 
present the idea was Mr. Mason, who, since his dignified 
removal from England, by order of his President, had been 
serving him in Europe where a diplomat without portfolio 
might be useful. 

To consent to the plan at all was perhaps the biggest thing 
Jefferson Davis ever did. He wanted Southern independ- 
ence above everything else. If such a measure would secure 
it, no sacrifice to years of special pleading was too great. 

Mr. Mason found the mission so distasteful that in pre- 
senting the idea to Lord Palmerston he avoided the use of 
the word slavery. The Premier went about the matter with 
no squeamishness. Slavery had nothing to do with the 
British attitude towards recognition of the South, he told 
him. Lord Palmerston was now on very firm ground. He 
was speaking for Government, and he told Mr. Mason the 
basis on which England refused the South recognition had 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 261 

been stated many times. The Earl of Donoughmore, an 
enthusiastic supporter of the South, in and out of the House 
of Lords, said it came too late. His belief was that had it 
come when Lee's invasion of the North was bringing hope 
to England, nothing could have stopped her recognition of 
the South. 82 

Organized propaganda had for some time shown itself in 
England and in France. 

Confederate agents as well as Commissioners were in both 
countries, and in time certain portions of the press indicated 
their presence. The establishment of The Index in London 
it first appeared in May, 1862, continuing throughout the 
War gave the South a most admirable channel, although 
its utterances were not always acceptable to the Mercury 
and other anti-Administration papers. The Index was an 
enterprise of some public-spirited men of Mobile, who sup- 
plied the editor and the means to establish the journal. 
Later it was to have the approbation of Davis and Mr. 
Benjamin to the extent of being helped out by the Secret 
Service fund of the Confederacy. The Mercury 88 charged 
that Henry Hotze, who was a Swiss teaching in Tennessee 
and at one time Associate Editor of the Mobile Register y was 
a most unfortunate choice for duty with the Index to repre- 
sent the cause of the South in England, and felt more at ease 
when Mr. De Leon of South Carolina, the Washington cor- 
respondent of the Mercury ', was sent out to "supervise" Mr. 
Hotze. The presence of a Southern gentleman was needed, 
the Mercury declared. 

The English press went through many changes of opinion 
during the war. The London Economist, quoted in the Rich- 
mond Dispatch of May 14, 1861, said: "There was no ques- 



262 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

tion whatever of the constitutional right of President Lincoln 
to treat the hostile Confederation as a treasonable rebellion, 
which so far as it entrenches on Federal property and laws, 
he may resist by force." And on the intention of moving 
in the House of Commons a resolution on the expediency of 
recognition of the Confederacy it declared: "We can imagine 
no course more disgraceful to England or less likely to com- 
mand assent." But this did. not long remain its view. 

In the main the opinion of the press varied with the news 
from America and economic pressure. The Richmond Dis- 
patch of May 23, 1861, had an editorial entitled "The Prob- 
able Course of England," and said: "We mean no disparage- 
ment to England, therefore, when we say that, show us 
what her interests are and we will tell you what her course 
will be in the present controversy." The sharp attacks in the 
Northern press after the Proclamation of Neutrality caused a 
shift to the Southern view. The defeat of Bull Run fur- 
nished the press an occasion to revalue their opinions and 
brought the Times correspondent back to London with the 
New York Times title of "Bull Run Russell." Russell was 
unpopular with the South as well as with the North, notwith- 
standing the courtesy he had received from Davis and his 
Secretary of War. Before Bull Run the Charleston Cour- 
ier S4> was quite outspoken about Russell, declaring that his 
letters to the Times did not represent the conditions, and 
cited numerous instances. On his return to England Mr. 
Russell resumed his editorial connection with the Army and 
Navy Gazette, and in that channel sought to square his belief 
in Northern victory, with the conviction that under no cir- 
cumstance would reunion result. 85 

Both the Times and Gazette went rather wide of the mark 
in their prognostications of Lincoln's reelection and its de- 



248 _^ =====:====== ^^ 

TO OUR "FRIENDS AND SUBSCRIBERS. 



was esUblUUed In Way 1862, in the darkert hour of Confederate 
w m. by tarn* friend, of Southern Independence, with the distinctly 
entative, In EnglUh journalism, of a 



t more for moral recognition. 

Ta INDEX ha. unceasingly laboured, by the combined aid of English 
and of Southern writer! , to enUrgt and extern! the common fwund upon 
which two nationi may cordially meet, which need only to underitand 
Bother in order tocherUh thewanneit mutual W reciaUonand UMbf 
frteodihlp. The chief .ndalmou the oledimcultylui been, and intill 
the cBiloui ludUTereoce of the BrttUh Oo^enuoent on the one band, and 
oo the other, the perplexity, to the European mind, of the un wired and 
unprecedented problem! iiuohed io the management and education o 
four mlillon* of the African race, intermingled with a population of the 
highe,tC*i^U type. ThU dlmcu^ 

neii to etery shade of toneit opinion, by an Inflexible adherence to truth 
under all drcunutance*. and by a bold arowal of conviction., even though 
ill received. Tui JNDKX doei not cWm to be neutral, but it claim* to be 
independent iu the higbeit tense of that word. It li because It must re- 
flect an J appeal to, at one and tue tame time, the public opinion of two 
comitrirt R* yt ouly imperfeclly acquainted, that tbii lomcwhat unusual 
telf-dettription ifc called for. 

Thanki to arrangeweuti now in successful operation, by which the Letters 
of regular Correspondent! and Newspapers from ail parti of the Con- 
frdenKe Slates are received wilhin from twenty-five to thirty days from 
Ibeir oW, THE IKUKX it always enabled to present the very Latest Direct 
News from the South, as well as a faithful reflex of the tone and spirit of 
the Southern Press. 

All communications intended for publication should invariably be addressed 
to * the Editor of Tut IIDIX, 991 Strand, W.C./ and unless authentkated 
by a responsible nam*, tan receive no attention. 

Advertisements should be tent *>4 Money Orders made payable to J.B. 
HONUNS, INDEX Office. 



THE INDEX. 

THUESDAY, APBIL 20, 1865. 




tie te&t of true courage to measure fearlessly ! 



THE 

tion, utterly null as re, 
ral capital of tto Co 
sense of a convenient < 
tlie transfer of the so; 
miles further north wu 
stration and a defiau 
leaving other parts < 
comparatively unscatli 
less efforts against tin 
be the best of military 
tenacity equal to thai 
hope was .possible tlui 
own interests and an 
and justice, there nrij 
reasons for supporting 
planting and for year 
stable and well-order' 
day*' march of the 
But when Europe b 
stolid impassiity, ant 
country were expose 
invader, it would 1 
shut up the finest arn 

line of fortification.^ 
rounded, and crushed 
far, then, from the eva 
the hopes of the Soutl 
confidence and 'arouse 
widely scattered popul 
altogether without the 
lacrificed to a tnistaket 

We use the term ew 

a deliberate act, carefu 

with consummate skil 

ight of Federal jicooui 

and distinct, that the i 

with heavy loss becaa 

within their grasp onl 

hin rear-guard wliici 

ast a work could not 

>erior force except uu 



FACSIMILE OF THE CONFEDERATE PUBLICATION IN ENGLAND 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 263 

pendence upon Sherman's taking Atlanta, but adjusted their 
views to results with skill. Notwithstanding the many fluc- 
tuations of opinion the Times enjoyed during the War, its 
great editor had moments of heeding the Government atti- 
tude of neutrality. Delane, at one time, was anxious to be 
very exact in describing the Confederacy, and wrote to Lord 
Russell's Under Secretary, Sir Arthur Layard, to ask if it 
were true that Russell, when replying to Mr* Mason and 
Mr. Slidell, had avoided using the term "The United States" 
and instead evolved this meticulous expression, "The divided 
republics of North and South America, formerly the United 
States," since this latter would seem to foreshadow the recog- 
nition of the South. Sir Arthur told 'Delane that he had 
been misinformed, and then hinted what the phrase really 
was: "The Northern and Southern States of the formerly 
United Republic of North America." Anglo-American rela- 
tions were exacting much. Sir Arthur, after this remarkable 
and self -devised title, thought it would be well to let Delane 
have a copy of Lord Russell's letter, should he approve, 
since it might "prevent some mischief." Lord Russell 
thought the mischief done already, but initialed his approval 
of supplying the copy. 88 

The Spectator was, in the main, a supporter of the North, 
as was also the Daily News and the Morning Star, John 
Bright's paper, which reached the group that were to benefit 
by the Parliamentary reform of 1867. 

Nearly all the papers finally came to the view that a recon- 
struction upon the lines of the Union was impossible, and 
throughout the war the English attitude was always colored 
by the sheer sporting proposition of a smaller number en- 
gaged against a greater, showing such military skill and 



264 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

power of resistance as to leave in grave doubt the outcome 
but never the superb heroism. 

It was in 1860 that a young English aristocrat, Lord 
Robert Cecil, later to be called Lord Salisbury, began writing 
for the Quarterly Review. He had some years earlier con- 
tributed to the Saturday Review, founded by his brother- 
in-law, Mr. Beresford Hope, with whom Jefferson Davis 
and his family later had very pleasant relations. He wrote 
too for other periodicals in order to increase his income, but 
the writing for the Quarterly was more to have a channel to 
bring constantly before the ultra-Conservatives the menace, 
shall we say, of that day, this insinuating force, this rising 
tide of democracy which was making itself felt: the changing 
conditions which were to bring about extension of the fran- 
chise and so reward such men as Cobden and Bright. 

The year before had seen the "fancy franchise bill," as it 
was called, of Disraeli's, go under. "With a democracy," 
Disraeli had said somewhat sententiously, "you will find that 
your property is less valuable and that your freedom is less 
complete." 8T And the ghost was laid for the moment. But 
by 1867 Parliamentary Reform had advanced the democratic 
principle for England, and she had learned that democracy 
had not failed across the sea, notwithstanding the efforts of 
the press to prove it. And through four of these years be- 
tween 1859 an d ^67 she watched the great struggle of the 
Civil War, believing that its outcome would act like a water 
gauge to measure the rise of democracy in the Realm. 

The writings of the young aristocrat, Lord Robert Cecil, 
were to have far-flung consequences. In July, 1861, the 
Quarterly published an article "Democracy on Trial" a 
statement, in fact, of his political credo, buttressed as it was 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 265 

with all those arguments that derive from the aristocratic 
principle, and the Conservatives were heartened with what 
they read. Lord Robert had seized upon what he believed 
to be the failure of democracy as a workable theory, since it 
could not hold a nation together, to force this point upon the 
Radicals at home, and notably Bright. This indeed was what 
had first engaged his interest in the American War, but soon 
he became one of the staunchest supporters of the Southern 
cause, 88 and did not, as did so many other English sym- 
pathizers, change to the Northern view after Antietam. 

This first article on Democracy inaugurated the series that 
were to extend throughout the war and were to be perhaps 
the most consistent expression of the Southern view not even 
excepting The Index, the subsidized "mouthpiece of the Con- 
federacy," which were uttered in England. The articles 
were unsigned, the author was unknown if surmised. In 
late years there was often question as to who the author was. 
So late as another war that had much to say about securing 
safety for democracy, the American Ambassador in London 
heard a group at Lambeth Palace, which included the editor 
of the London Times and Lord Morley, question if the 
author were Lord Salisbury. But no one knew. 89 It waited 
the publication of the Life of this great aristocrat after the 
World War to reveal the authorship 4(> as the work of this 
passionate believer in the South. He would not accept the 
idea of defeat; and so great was the nervous strain upon 
him as he followed the course of the war that there was 
anxiety about his health. 41 He saw the passing in his own 
country of a social order, just as he saw it across the seas; 
and fear for the one nearest him lent a force and fierceness 

40 The author is indebted to Mr. George Macaulay Trevelyan for having 
brought to her attention the literary evidence which fixes the authorship of 
these Quarterly articles as that of Lord Robert Cecil. 



2 66 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

to his invective that have made these Quarterly articles the 
sharpest that the English press produced during the War. 
His view was that "a system which could only secure con- 
tinued national existence at the cost of a prolonged and deso- 
lating civil war was scarcely in a position to despise the older 
constitutional forms which it claimed to supplant." 42 

In 1864, with interest somewhat lagging in the struggle, 
he was still holding his colors high and paid at that time 
his tribute to Mr. Davis: 

". . . During those long months of Southern confidence 
and unreadiness . . . there was one prescient mind in the 
South restlessly at work preparing and organizing means of 
resistance. It is useless for the Confederates now to regret, 
as is too much the fashion among them, that at; this moment 
more was not done. It is easy now to see that it would have 
been a grand step if all the cotton in the country had been 
seized by the Confederate Government, but it is more to the 
point for Southerners to remember with gratitude that . . . 
President Davis, besides encouraging by his personal efforts 
the large importation through the mock blockade of gun 
powder and muskets, called updn Colonel Rains (and a better 
selection was never made) to establish a large government 
powder mill at Augusta in Georgia. Simultaneously South- 
ern strength, ingenuity and resource were unfolded and 
developed day by day, and hour by hour." 4S 

A master of invective, he used his skill to the end, and at 
the period when mediation seemed most likely, the Quarterly 
articles provided stirring arguments for the followers of his 
own school of political theory. 

The experiment of democracy as functioning in the United 
States had been followed with varying interest in England 
for many years, although it was a French mind that crystal- 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 267 

lized the significance of the political theory in operation. De 
Tocqueville's book was source material so far as democracy 
in America was concerned. 

But no English traveler here ever failed to record his 
observations in a book on his return, and only lack of a read- 
ing public need have prevented enlightened opinion in 
England. 

Miss Martineau's rather caustic, spinsterish impressions of 
conditions in the South, Fanny Kemble found at times to be 
in error. Miss Martineau's crisp mind worked more eagerly 
for reform and without the artist's eye to see so much of the 
beauty in the South that helped Fanny Kemble over some of 
the appalling things that caught her pity. Both left pictures 
worth keeping. Basil Hall, with more precision and humor, 
be it said, had made a real contribution. All these were 
earlier. It was Anthony Trollope who gave to England a 
view of the country at war. He was very positive that there 
was no hope of a reunion of the States and his sympathies 
were with the North. 

But an English clergyman furnished, in brief, the picture 
for the South. He had lived in the Southland some twenty- 
one years, a far longer time than most observers give to 
securing either knowledge or impression. The Reverend 
T. D. Ozanne, like Trollope, published his book during 
the war. 

"Southern Society," he wrote, "has most of the virtues of 
an aristocracy, increased in zest by the democratic form of 
government, and the freedom of discussion on all topics 
fostered by it. It is picturesque, patriarchal, genial. It 
makes a landed gentry, it founds families, it favors leisure 
and field sports ; it develops a special class of thoughtful, 



268 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

responsible, guiding and protecting minds } it tends to eleva- 
tion of sentiment and refinement of manners." 44 

Literary England as a whole supported the North but not 
quickly. Matthew Arnold, quite easily, found little to like 
in any part of America. After the Trent affair he was 
hopeful that the Americans would take their lesson without 
war with England. He was impatient of the ties of blood 
relationship. The relationship of the soul was really all 
that mattered, and this, he adds, "one has far more with the 
French, Italians or Germans than with the Americans." 

Tennyson, in 1861, who had just refused an offer of 
3,000 and his expenses paid to give some readings in 
America, told James Bryce he thought "the North would 
be all the better for the separation." 

The Brownings and the Rossettis linked their enthusiasms 
if it reached that point with the North. In April, 1 861, 
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was writing to Mrs. Martin that 
it might be as well to let the Southern States secede. Her 
fears had been that the North would compromise. She 
would have had a pecuniary compromise but not one of 
principle. 45 England had so settled the matter in 1 833. 

Robert Browning believed that English sympathy had 
been with the North on purely anti-slavery grounds. The 
mood of literary England was like the rest of England- 
it wavered as different occurrences stirred different feelings. 

But the foreign policy of Jefferson Davis remained un- 
changed. Recognition of the South as an independent nation 
must come first. 

The remaining years of the war brought less friction 
with the United States Government, while the friends of the 
South in England continued as before. The future Lord 
Salisbury allowed no opportunity to slip to uphold the 



THE CONFEDERACY AND ENGLAND 269 

Southern cause in the Quarterly Review, still beating democ- 
racy over the head by the aid of its example in the United 
States. Organizations of all sorts went on their wonted ways 
with meetings and protests or acclaims. Much of the oratory 
at the meetings was based on the gathering force towards the 
democratic principle that saw its beginning in the Parliamen- 
tary Reform of 1 867. The aristocrats, however, were some- 
what at a loss to explain the survival of this principle after 
a war. 

There was to be no higher nor more eloquent tribute to 
Davis than that by his friend, Lord Campbell, at a meeting 
in Manchester of the Manchester Southern Independence 
Association: 46 

No man of reflection, can, in my opinion, glance at the 
daily life of Mr. Davis without a sentiment which even 
passes admiration. [Immense cheering] If an independent 
and despotic power had been granted to him, such as great 
men are apt to claim under such circumstances still, to keep 
the mind engaged upon every part of an almost interminable 
frontier, to divine the plans of a government whose move- 
ments it is difficult to calculate, to prepare for every pos- 
sible event, to picture each imaginable difficulty, to plan 
campaigns upon a territory so extensive and under circum- 
stances so unprecedented, would tax the very highest reach 
of military genius. But this is not the whole of the burden 
that devolves upon Mr. Davis. This task he is called upon 
to perform, while at the same time he is accountable to a 
representative assembly, to a Senate, and to a Cabinet. 
[Hear] But even that is not the limit of his trials. He has 
to face these difficulties, to aim at these results, with a free 
press to criticize, to control, to reprimand him; sometimes to 
be elated by success, sometimes to be depressed unduly by re- 
verses, and sometimes to reveal to distant armies much which 
in his opinion it would be more judicious to conceal from 



270 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

them. The liberty of that press he has not once attempted 
to control or wished to override. [Cheers] And yet to 
meet this threefold trial might well exhaust the wisdom of 
a ruler, the resources of a general, and the temper of an 
angel. [Cheers] Come what may, gentlemen, you cannot 
be deprived of the reflection that, in your day, according to 
your power, although divided from him by the ocean, you 
have done something to uphold one of the bravest and 
noblest minds which Providence has formed, in one of the 
loftiest and hardest enterprises with which the fortunes of 
the world have ever been identified. 

But Lord Campbell was not the Government of England. 



Chapter XV The Confederacy and France 

A WEDDING in his family delayed Mr. Adams' sailing to 
take up his duties as Minister to the Court of St. James's. 
Otherwise he might have been in England when the famous 
Proclamation of Neutrality was issued. The Trent affair 
detained Mr. Slidell or he might have begun sooner his 
importunings for an interview with the Emperor and pre- 
senting the case of the South to His Majesty. Even before 
this greatly desired meeting took place, Mr. Slidell had 
various reasons to think his mission might have happy re- 
sults. These as they occurred were reported to Richmond. 
Davis was to be encouraged. It was a gloomy period in the 
affairs of the Confederacy and any buoyant reports sent from 
France might ease the President's troubled mind. 

The choice of Mr. Slidell as Commissioner to France was 
obvious. His long residence in New Orleans and marriage 
to a Creole aristocrat made at once some acceptable quali- 
fications for a French mission. He was "adroit, full of 
device, and fond of intrigue" as William H. Russell ob- 
served. His thin lips and his rather penetrating gray eyes 
were indicative of a will and a willingness to measure men 
for his purposes. His family moved always in the beau 
monde whether in New Orleans or Paris, and he was flat- 
tered that on two occasions the Empress Eugenie had sent 
for him at her receptions. He was aware too that she was 
believed to have influence in affairs of state. 

The work he had before him was wholly to his liking. 
Born in New York, he lived there for thirty years, but went 

271 



272 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

to New Orleans to practice law and became an ardent Lou- 
isianian. As a United States Senator from that State he 
indulged his gift of good address, but he left the Senate to 
become a violent secessionist. Even Consul Bunch was 
mindful of his good manners and so informed the Foreign 
Office as early as 1 86I. 1 But his knowledge of men, thought 
to be so astute and accurate, fell a little short when he faced 
the "pale man" at Vichy and failed to notice that he listened 
more often than he spoke. 

During the early spring of 1862 Mr. Slidell learned that 
the Emperor was adroit at finding means to make the notion 
of recognition of the South appear to come as from a popular 
demand of the French. Slidell reported to Richmond that 
steps had been taken to enlist the good offices of the Cham- 
bers of Commerce of the different principal cities to ask for 
the restoration of commercial relations with the States of the 
South. It was the time the pro-Southern press, which were 
the semi-official organs, in France, were urging recognition in 
a vigorous form. The blockade had begun to tell. The 
Commissioner's real encouragement came when he learned, 
among other things, that the Mediterranean fleet of the 
French Navy had been ordered to lay in a three months' 
store. 2 

France, as well as England, was having hard times in its 
cotton industry with a hundred thousand or more workmen 
in need. By the end of the year the distress had extended 
and the actual want and suffering was so great that a public 
subscription was started. But the response was not large and 
Government aid finally resulted. There was seemingly no 
Gladstone to find employment for the people in the fares 
of the great estates. But the profiteers benefited. Before 
this time it had been easy to lay the distress to the operations 



THE CONFEDERACY AND FRANCE 273 

of Cobden's treaty with England as various other industries 
were affected, but by 1863 it was chiefly cotton manufactur- 
ing that suffered. Yet in another year that too had passed. 3 
Economic pressure seems not to have been so potent in 
developing French opinions either for neutrality or for rec- 
ognition of the South. Rather it was that strange under- 
current rushing on to the flood which was to be the voice of 
the people making for Republican France, as it was in 
England in the support of the so-called Radicals, Cobden 
and Bright. 

It was, as a matter of fact, not until July, 1862, that the 
coveted meeting with Napoleon III occurred. The Em- 
peror was taking his cure at Vichy. The house where he 
stayed was a small one, with only one salon as Mr. Slidell 
found. He was in good mood when he received the South- 
ern Commissioner, giving seventy minutes of his health- 
seeking time to Mr. Slidell, during which he assured him 
of his interest. 

The principle of self-government, so dear to him, for 
which the South was contending, easily won his sympathies, 
and he doubted if ever the Union could be reestablished. 
He would be glad to show these sympathies, but he must 
always keep the relations between France and England at 
their friendliest and he could not do anything without her 
cooperation. At this point the Emperor asked Mr. SlidelPs 
view as to the condition of affairs. The polite diplomat 
who had been chosen for this post because of singular fitness 
and his knowledge of French he had already told the 
Emperor that it was the language habitually spoken in his 
family found it wiser to ask the Emperor's permission to 
reply in English. He employed his native tongue to ad- 
vantage saying, in substance, that the South had enough man 



274 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

power and always would have, but that arms, powder and 
clothing were needed. This led most easily to a discussion 
of the blockade. Mr. Slidell became eloquent at this point, 
saying that there was great surprise in the South that the 
neutral Powers had submitted to the blockade, since it was 
quite ineffective, and especially that France had thus sub- 
mitted, because heretofore she had never failed to assert 
neutral rights. The Emperor confessed, so Mr. Slidell as- 
sured Mr. Benjamin, that he had made a great mistake and 
one he regretted, namely, in having France respect the 
blockade. 

The suggestion that the Emperor send a fleet to break 
the blockade and receive one hundred thousand bales of 
cotton, valued at $12,500,000, was, however, arresting, espe- 
cially when Mr. Slidell assured him that the American 
marine comprised second-class steamers and that the French 
cruisers could easily go by the fortifications of New York 
and Boston, or could successfully bombard Fortress Monroe 
or the ships in Chesapeake Bay. 4 He made it very clear to 
the Emperor that this subsidy offer of cotton was made ex- 
clusively to France. Mr. Mason in London was quite un- 
aware that he had even the authority to make it. 

Mr. Slidell had been in France long enough to have 
learned from the press, as well as doubtless from M. Thou- 
venel, of the distress in the cotton manufacturing districts, 
and that memorials were being sent to the Emperor. 5 The 
suggestion of the cotton present was born in the Oriental 
mind of Mr. Benjamin, but his old associate and commis- 
sioner had taken a happy moment to bring it to the Em- 
peror's attention. Trained in the Benjamin school, Mr. 
Slidell told the Emperor that England no longer could be 
considered the friend of the Confederacy because of her 



THE CONFEDERACY AND FRANCE 275 

recognition of the blockade, but soon said to him that his 
colleague from London, for the first time since his arrival, 
was hopeful that there might be recognition by England 
and cooperation with His Majesty. The Emperor's excel- 
lent knowledge of English could have scarcely failed to 
reach the full significance of this statement. 

The Mexican situation too came into the conversation. 
The Emperor foreshadowed difficulties with the United 
States. But the Commissioner was ready with a plan which 
should relieve the Emperor's anxiety. It was that as the 
United States recognized President Juarez, who was, of 
course, the enemy of His Majesty, the South would unite 
with France against him. This, too, must have held the 
Emperor's attention. For it was only three months before 
that the Spanish and British ships were withdrawn from 
Vera Cruz where they had gone some months earlier with 
the French in the interest of securing some claims, and 
France alone was left to undertake debt collection by inva- 
sion. The clash at La Puebla in May brought reenf orce- 
ments from France, and the Navy Archduke at Miramar, 
looking out over his oleanders and olives and myrtles to the 
blue of the Adriatic beyond, began to be more willing to 
listen to his Carlotta's ambitions to be an Empress, and to 
renounce his own to the Hapsburg succession. 

The Emperor then went on to discuss with the Commis- 
sioner, in the event of mediation, what boundaries would 
the South consider. This was one of those moments of par- 
titioning the United States, always so engaging to the Euro- 
pean mind at that time. Mr. Slidell met that easily. The 
States which comprised the Confederacy would be insisted 
upon, "leaving the people of Kentucky, Missouri and Mary- 
land to decide for themselves whether they would or would 



276 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

not unite their fortunes with ours." 6 The interview re- 
mained in Mr. SlidelPs mind as marking the Emperor's gra- 
dousness. He had indicated that it would not be- difficult 
for Mr. Slidell to see him again. The Commissioner did not 
seem to realize that the man who had accustomed himself 
to silence at Ham had not betrayed himself. 

What Davis learned from his Secretary of State was 
that his Commissioner had reported that the Emperor had 
in no wise committed himself as to the answer Mr. SlidelPs 
demand for recognition would have when presented in the 
usual channel. 

It was in the spacious rooms of St. Cloud some three 
months later when the Emperor received Mr. Slidell again. 
It was upon this occasion that the Emperor sounded him out 
on the proposed joint mediation with England and Russia, 
which was later proposed to England. The Emperor was 
disposed towards an armistice for six months and the open- 
ing of the Southern ports. The voice from Richmond had 
not spoken and Mr. Slidell was vague in his reply. The 
conversation turning to the helpful point as to ships, Mr. 
Slidell told of the enterprise then going on in England and 
sought some "verbal assurance" that the placing of guns and 
men upon the vessels might not be watched too closely by 
France. The Emperor made the happy suggestion that the 
ships could be built as, say, for the Italian Government? He 
would consult the Minister of Marine. Nice and Savoy, now 
in French territory, doubtless made the Italian Government 
come most easily to his mind. The interview concluded with 
the Emperor's shaking hands, and Mr. Slidell could not 
have been mistaken about what had been said, for the con- 
versation was again in English. 



THE CONFEDERACY AND FRANCE 277 

In the early part of 1863, Mr. Benjamin was sending 
good tidings to Mr. Slidell. The blockade had been broken 
at several Southern ports. "I enclose you," he writes, "the 
official circular of the breaking of the blockade at Charleston. 
The blockade at Galveston was still more effectually raised 
by the capture of the Harriet Lane and the blowing up of 
the West-field , which was the flagship of the squadron j and 
we have just received a telegram, somewhat imperfectly 
worded from Galveston, announcing the capture of the 
enemy's forces at Sabine Pass, the capture of thirteen guns, 
stores of the value of one million of dollars and one hundred 
and nine prisoners, ... I shall apprise foreign Consuls of 
the opening of these two additional ports of Galveston and 
Sabine Pass." 7 

A year later the Commissioner was so fortunate as to be 
received at the Tuileries. The danger in the way of his 
hope of recognition of the Confederate States was French 
commerce and also possible trouble with the United States 
about the Mexican expedition. The Emperor seemed to 
have been a little uneasy about the success of this pet project 
of his as well as of his Empress. 

By now the French troops had reversed their repulse of 
the year before at La Puebla. The city had fallen and the 
Emperor told Mr. Slidell that the city of Richmond was 
illuminated upon hearing the news. It was to be sure an 
item published in the ConsMuUonnel 8 which obviously had 
been brought to the Emperor's attention. But Mr. Slidell 
restrained himself and did not tell His Majesty he regarded 
it as apocryphal. 9 The French press had represented the 
North as suffering disappointment. 

But the Emperor's real contribution to this third and last 



278 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

visit of Mr. SlidelPs was his agreement that the ships of war 
might be built at Nantes and Bordeaux, but their destination 
concealed. 

In December of this year President Davis in his address 
to his Congress found little of encouragement to say in re- 
gard to European recognition. He accused England out- 
right of a preferred neutrality, a neutrality that helped the 
enemy. He spoke more agreeably about the coming of the 
young Navy Archduke to Mexico as being not unacceptable 
to the Confederacy, and wisely left unsaid many things about 
France. But he warned his people not to hope for European 
recognition. He was heartening them for the work ahead. 
The year had seen the matchless charge of Pickett at Gettys- 
burg, and Lee's withdrawal the third day of the battle, and 
at the same time the fall of Vicksburg, and Davis found 
himself forced to dwell more on the immediate needs of the 
Army than on the winging hope of European intervention. 

The fate of Vicksburg had another meaning to the Con- 
federacy. An avenue for bringing supplies from Mexico 10 
had been cut off. That in one way was more serious than 
the more obvious loss of the river and the occupation of that 
part of Mississippi. It was, however, only another year 
before Maximilian's Court in Mexico was giving the South 
an opportunity to accredit a Minister to it, and Davis had 
devised a bubble argument to include in his speech to Con- 
gress to show how great was the understanding of the South 
with a people who accepted a monarchy rather than a re- 
public. 

But it was sympathy wasted, for the Confederate Minister 
was not recognized when he arrived at Mexico, and the 
United States Government had made it very clear indeed 
that a foreign Government establishing itself on this con- 



THE CONFEDERACY AND FRANCE 279 

tinent interfered with the only really definite foreign policy 
of the United States the Monroe Doctrine. 

Mr. Slidell still had work to do with his ships, but the 
situation became at least delicate when he told the Emperor's 
Minister of Foreign Affairs that their building was the idea 
of the Emperor. Mr. Slidell as a diplomat was found 
wanting. 

In the meantime the shipbuilding activities had progressed 
at Bordeaux under the skillful direction of Captain Bullock 
of the Confederate Navy, and the guarantees of payment 
were being executed by the firm of Erlanger & Company, 
one of whose members became Mr. SlidelPs son-in-law. 
The official authorization of the building and equipping of 
these vessels was under the fantastic legend that they were 
for protection against pirates and were to travel the seas 
of the Far East. The Japanese or Chinese Government 
doubtless seemed a wiser or more remote purchaser than the 
Italian Government, as the Emperor had humorously said 
to Mr. Slidell. The active intervention of the United States 
Government in reminding the French Government of the 
Emperor's Proclamation of Neutrality finally produced its 
effect, but not before the ram Stonewall had made a pic- 
turesque detour from French to Danish and then to Con- 
federate control when riding in the harbor of Ferrol. The 
somewhat belated neutrality finally worked, and by the time 
the ram had reached Cuban waters Appomattox had sealed 
the fate of the Confederate Army, and Davis' capture that 
of the Confederacy. 11 

Mr. Slidell had engaged himself also in seeking to create 
public opinion favorable to the Confederacy, but on the 
arrival of Mr. De Leon at Paris that burden was removed 



a8o JEFFERSON DAVIS 

from him. Early in February, not long after reaching 
Paris, he wrote Mr. Benjamin that France was getting its 
knowledge of the situation in America mainly through the 
"fictions and exaggerations for which the Northern press is 
famous." He felt the importance of applying a remedy at 
once, and thought by the expenditure of a few thousand 
dollars the advocacy of the Southern cause through some one 
of the leading journals could be secured. He had found 
that a number of them were already well disposed, and the 
active support of one could certainly be obtained by a small 
expenditure. 12 And Mr. Benjamin and Davis saw eye to 
eye in this, and Mr. Hotze and the Secret Service fund 
were the response. 

The Index, which was operating with some success in 
London under Mr. Hotze's direction, had no counterpart in 
France. But portions of the French press seemed in time 
open to some of Mr. De Leon's persuasions, so much so in 
fact that the relations between Mr. Slidell and Mr. De Leon 
became strained. Mr. De Leon was so unfortunate as to 
have an intercepted letter reach the Federal press and, in 
time, the French Liberal press, in which he said: "They [the 
French] are a far more mercenary race than the English, 
and we must buy golded opinions from them if at all. Such 
was the secret of Dr. Franklin's success." 1S 

The Mercury's opinion of its former Washington corres- 
pondent must have changed at this point, for Mr. De Leon 
gave way to Mr. Hotze, who was unremitting in praise of 
himself to Mr. Benjamin. 

The Liberal press, such as the Journal des Debats, the 
Tern-pS) and the Revue des Deux Mondes, was not favorable 
to the South, but the Siecle y the Moniteur, the Constitu- 
tionnel y the Patrie, these semi-official papers and the Clerical 



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THE CONFEDERACY AND FRANCE 281 

press, were. 14 The changing fortunes as the great struggle 
went on frequently varied French opinion. France as well 
as England was watching an experiment in democracy and 
lining up with the North or the South as suited the interest 
of the individual in the experiment. The French lover of 
liberty and equality found himself supporting the North. 
The French mind that preferred the dissolution of a democ- 
racy and sensed the pride of land and type of patriotism the 
South had shown, put its allegiance with the Confederacy. 
This was the view of the French editor Prevost Paradol. 15 
The expedition to Mexico was another enterprise, which 
from the first, had engaged the French press with different 
views. An expedition, as we saw, that began as a force to col- 
lect claims, with England and Spain similarly employed, soon 
found France carrying on alone. America was invited but 
declined to take part. The other allies were not in sympathy 
with the political interests occupying France. The dream of 
empire was always in the mind of the Emperor, and the Em- 
press was no less eager. The Emperor's attachment to 
America lay in the familiar phrase, Eh bien, il jaut recon- 
struire I'Empre la-bas. And for a long time he had pro- 
vided himself with many details that would prove helpful in 
such an eventuality. The year before the war at Biarritz, he 
had amazed a professor from the University of Virginia with 
whom he talked with his knowledge of the United States j its 
expenditures on the fortifications in Florida, the commerce 
from the Gulf States, and so on. But the possibilities in 
Mexico were back of it all. Mr. Benjamin seems to have 
learned of this from a letter of the Professor's, 16 and doubt- 
less he thought the information it contained might be useful 

18 Through the courtesy of the Librarian at the University of Virginia, 
extensive search was made to discover who this professor might be. It was 
perhaps Professor Schele de Vere, a Swiss, then in Europe on his honeymoon. 



a8a JEFFERSON DAVIS 

to Mr. Slidell, for he made a long extract which details the 
interview and adds it as a postscript to one of his exemplary 
communications. 

The Napoleon complex made the military display the 
source of appeal to win the support of France to the under- 
taking, and soon the Archduke and his Carlotta were out- 
ward bound to be lost in the maze of an Emperor's dream. 

Napoleon III at this time, the early art of 1864,* was 
giving Mr. Hotze a good deal of concern. He informed 
Mr. Benjamin that at the moment it was definite that this 
most amiable young Archduke was finally to start on the 
Mexican venture, the Emperor chose to send a Bonaparte 
prince, a son of Lucien, to this new Empire he had devised 
on the American continent. 17 And he was also making neu- 
trality rather ostentatious, so Henry Hotze informed Rich- 
mond. Maximilian, while in Paris before leaving for 
Mexico, refused to see either Mr. Slidell or the United 
States Minister, Mr. Dayton. But Mr. Hotze relieves Mr. 
Benjamin's mind at once by saying that those informed 
said that the Archduke realizes perfectly that "the inde- 
pendence and friendship of the South form the only safe 
guarantee for his throne." 18 Only a month before Mr. 
Slidell had written Mr. Benjamin that "his friend" at the 
Foreign Ofiice had told him of seeing the paper on which 
the Archduke had cited the essentials to the success of his 
rule in Mexico, and "the recognition of the Confederacy 
headed the list." 19 So doubtless this meticulous neutrality 
of the Archduke was not seriously disturbing to the Com- 
missioner nor to the Cabinet at Richmond. 

Maximilian I, as he was to be called, set off with smart 
new liveries made in Brussels and high hopes of crushing 



THE CONFEDERACY AND FRANCE 283 

this strange thing, democracy, showing its head near by "the 
bed of roses of Montezuma and Yturbide." 

One of his plans was, and he sent a letter to the Emperor 
by Prince Metternich, then Austrian Ambassador at Paris, 
asking him to say so, that if the Confederate States of 
America were recognized, it must be stipulated that they 
recognize and guarantee the independence of Mexico. 
Further, that if the Juarez Government gave any permission 
for the passage of Northern troops, it must be met with sharp 
protest. 20 The Emperor approved this plan of the Arch- 
duke's. It served as a pretext of delay, and he put himself 
on record as not failing to bring up the question when the 
moment should be opportune. The guarantee of Mexico as 
a condition of recognizing the Southern States was indeed an 
admirable idea. 

But the taste of the former Archduke, who had contrived 
so much beauty for his little rocky peninsula at Miramar, 
with granite from the Tyrol to make the terraces, was on his 
arrival at Mexico City deeply, engaged with the beauty that 
now lay before him. And the perplexities of Empire build- 
ing were exchanged for the more immediate results that 
could be seen in the theaters and palaces. But at the last 
he was chided by his chief that the building of theaters and 
palaces was not so important as putting the country on a 
sound financial basis and creating a national Mexican Army 
in order that the French troops might return to France. An 
Indian's rifle shot at Queretaro silenced criticism and a 
merciful cloud darkened Carlotta's mind to the end. The 
Emperor's own debacle was only five years away. It began 
the July morning in 1870 when he rode out from St. Cloud, 
and the road led to Sedan. 

It was in the April of 1863 that Mr. Mason, who was, 



284 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

so Henry Adams thought, just "one eccentric more" in 
London, united with Mr. Slidell in "the effort to put through 
the Confederate Foreign Cotton Loans of some $15,000,000 
through the Erlanger Company. It was this loan which 
gave the Confederate Government money for the purchase 
of the iron-clad cruisers and corvettes, the construction of 
which had concerned Mr. Slidell so agreeably with the 
Emperor. 

It was at this time the Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Mai- 
lory, .was writing the President what that branch of the Gov- 
ernment needed. "Congress has in secret session," he writes, 
"appropriated for the service of the department abroad 
[the Laird rams and those in France had to be paid for] 
$5,200,000. This amount we require in currency equal to 
sterling. It is understood by the Secretary of the Treasury 
and myself that this appropriation is to be paid out of the 
Erlanger. loan, but he notifies me that he will charge this 
Department an exchange of three to one." 21 

The idea of the loan was, at first, not acceptable to the 
Confederate Government. But Mr. Slidell had intimated 
that it carried with it almost the certainty that "powerful 
influences" would be secured for the South, and the gentle- 
man at Richmond finally authorized it. It never had the 
official recognition of the London Stock Exchange, 22 but the 
London Times and the Economist believed in it and sup- 
ported it in their columns, and in two days' time it was three 
times over-subscribed in London. It gave Mr. Mason the 
opportunity to write Mr. Benjamin, "Cotton is king at last." 

But the loan was not convincing as "sound investment," 
and the fluctuations began that finally resulted in using the 
money taken in the subscription "to bull the market." And 
Mr. Mason duly reported to Mr. Benjamin of the operations 



THE CONFEDERACY AND FRANCE 285 

employed on the London market to sustain the loan, a course 
in which he felt quite justified, because of "other machina- 
tions" which he thought had been set in motion to depress 
it. 

The years went on and when the cotton famine was press- 
ing hard upon France, the Emperor, without England, of- 
fered to be the mediator between the South and the United 
States, but the offer was declined, and the old efforts of 
recognition through cooperation with England had to be re- 
sumed. 

The Emperor and Mr. Slidell did not meet again after 
the last interview until by chance, at the races in the Bois de 
Boulogne in 1864, when His Majesty shook hands with Mr. 
Slidell and asked him what effect the fall of Atlanta would 
have upon the war. He assured the Emperor it was of little 
consequence, not at all so great as Europe fancied, for all 
valuable machinery and material had been removed before 
Sherman's occupation. 23 He did tell him, however, in re- 
sponse to his inquiry about any prospects of peace, that 
McClellan's acceptance of the Democratic nomination doubt- 
less meant Mr. Lincoln's reelection and no peace. The 
second handshake of the Emperor on leaving would in 
earlier days have stirred hopes of recognition of the South. 
Now Mr. Slidell knew his Emperor. 

And Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Davis knew him as well. 
That same month the Secretary found leisure to set down 
in detail to Mr. Slidell the views held at Richmond of the 
French Government. Professions of friendliness were off- 
set by acts that were injurious. 

Then there was the matter of the relations with Mexico. 
The Confederacy had been approached, indirectly to be sure, 
by the Emperor Maximilian, with a view to establishing 



286 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

friendly relations. But it appears that Napoleon III was 
averse to this, and tried to have Maximilian gain favor with 
the North. The sum of these acts was the failure of the 
delivery of the ships which the Emperor had acquiesced in 
the Confederate Government's purchasing in France. The 
other unfriendly acts included the detention of the Rap- 
fahmnock for more than six months, an act Mr. Benjamin 
regarded as wholly unneutral. 24 The Secretary of State's dis- 
appointment, and undoubtedly that of Davis too, that recog- 
nition had not been given the South, led him to forget that 
when the French neutrality moved a point, it moved in 
favor of the South. He cautioned the Commissioner not 
to display any indignation which might lead the Emperor's 
Government to think the Confederacy unfriendly, but he at 
least made clear the position of the President on the whole 
intercourse notably, that the Emperor seemed, strangely 
enough, intent only upon promoting his own interests. This 
then was the pass to which the overtures of amity had 
brought France and the Confederacy. 

The South believed, as did Mr. Slidell, that the sympathy 
of Napoleon III was with them. Judge Lamar thought so, 
and that his policy was to frighten the Yankees into support- 
ing his Mexican undertaking. "He no doubt would be 
glad," the Judge wrote to Mrs. Clay, "to give French neu- 
trality in American affairs for Yankee neutrality in Mexican 
affairs." 25 

But Mr. Davis' third Commissioner in Europe, Mr. A. 
Dudley Mann, was less moved than most by the seeming 
sympathy of the Emperor. In 1864 t& was writing to Mr. 
Davis that "we never had, nor have now, anything favorable 
to expect. His Imperial Majesty is deaf to international 
justice and blind to its usages, when he conceives that Mexico 



THE CONFEDERACY AND FRANCE 287 

may possibly be involved in danger." He then gave his 
President some valuable information} namely, that he had 
it upon good authority that there was an understanding be- 
tween the Cabinets of the Tuileries and Washington. "The 
latter," he wrote, "is to consider the Monroe Doctrine as 
utterly obsolete, and that for this concession [sic] the former 
will decline for an indefinite period to establish diplomatic 
relations with us." 26 This Mr. Mann declared to be "a 
monstrous wrong," but one from which there was no redress. 

The hoped-for recognition did indeed seem further and 
further away. Mr. Davis, intent upon the work of carrying 
on a great war, was doubtless not following too minutely the 
European hare-and-hound race for a balance of power on 
this side of the Atlantic. But he surely would have agreed 
with the Spanish writer Rodrigo, that "Mexico and the 
Southern States were the two advanced redoubts which 
Europe in its own interest should have thrown up against the 
American colossus." 27 

The Mexican plan as devised by Napoleon III and talked 
over with Disraeli so far back as in 1857 was slowly wearing 
out. 

The Austrian Ambassador, Metternich's long sojourn at: 
Paris probably accounted for his view as to what might 
eventuate when the American war was at an end. It was the 
familiar one that the North would annex Canada and the 
South Mexico, but his mind went a little further, and he 
went on record as a statesman, certainly one of the very 
few, who thought that the Monroe Doctrine applied, in prin- 
ciple, might be of service. That is, since the European occu- 
pation in Mexico was "a direct negation" of the Doctrine, it 
might be well for the South, having annexed Mexico, to 



288 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

uphold the Monroe Doctrine. 28 This was indeed a new 
point of view. 

In the years after the war Mr. Davis was in France. He 
was seeing his old Commissioner Mr. Slidell in Paris, who 
had found no occasion or wish to return to Louisiana, and 
Mr. Dudley Mann, who also made France his home. The 
meetings were very agreeable. 

Jefferson Davis had his own dignity as well as an excellent 
memory. When the Emperor sent one of his aides to tell 
Mr. Davis that His Majesty would offer him an audience, 
he declined. This recognition of the Emperor's came too 
late. 



Chapter XVI The End of an Idea 

THE morning service in St. Paul's was going on. It was 
Sunday, April 2, 1 865. The President was in his pew, which 
in itself was reassuring, although Mrs. Davis was not there. 
She and the children had left several days earlier for Char- 
lotte, North Carolina, under the care of Davis' private sec- 
retary, Burton N. Harrison. For some time Davis had been 
counseling that families should leave the city and go to the 
South or West. One element in the counsel was supplies. 
Sheridan had been through the Shenandoah Valley. There 
was scarcely food enough for the Army of Northern Vir- 
ginia. The people who could go South would, at least, not 
be taking food from the Army. The President of the Con- 
federacy had set an example by sending his own family 
there. 

A dispatch bearer from the War Department came to the 
Church with a message for Mr. Davis. General Lee had 
notified him that the Confederate Army was forced to evacu- 
ate Petersburg, and that inevitably the Richmond lines would 
soon follow. He counseled the evacuation of Richmond 
during the night, unless he sent other advice. Davis read 
the communication and quietly left the church. When this 
tall, slim, rather austere man passed down the aisle and out 
into the sunshine of a Virginia April day, there went with 
him that of which he had been the symbol it was the end 
of an idea. 

But the end, as all ends, seemed sudden. No word had 
reached even the editors' desks in the different newspaper 

289 



2 9 o JEFFERSON DAVIS 

offices that Lee would begin the withdrawal of his trbops 
towards Lynchburg, as it turned out, rather than Danville, 
as the President had thought. 

The sudden stirring throughout the city that soon fol- 
lowed was a surprise, to all save perhaps to this grave, rather 
tragic man who had so quietly just left the church. Only 
the day before Davis had written Lee "The question is 
often asked of me, 'Will we hold Richmond?' to which my 
only answer is, if we can, it is purely a question of military 
power. 1 And now word had been brought to him that it 
was beyond the military power to do it. The quiet city that 
had been for four years the capital of the Confederacy was 
the heart of the South, and there is no life without the heart. 
When Richmond fell, the Confederate States of America 
were at an end. 

The long months since summer had been employed by the 
Army of the Potomac in the warfare of attrition. By this 
April day it had done its work, and when Lee sent the mes- 
sage to Davis, Grant had been bombarding Petersburg and 
the meeting at Appomattox Court House was but nine days 
away. 

Before the day was done the Sunday routine was sharply 
broken, and the city that till now, though threatened, had 
never wholly lost its peacetime freedom, was to be flung into 
the wild alarums of an evacuation. 

Davis went at once to his office and then tried to reach 
the members of his Cabinet and the heads of Departments 
to give them the intelligence he had received as well as his 
own decision. The offices were closed for the day and some 
time was lost in reaching the various officials. Benjamin, 
found at his home engaged with the most recent foreign 
papers, was soon on his way to the State Department. The 



aV*KWS yiutEH. 

Sr*?J ^ ^ ^^odTfro^lh, ft, 
our enemies, may pass our tuny in riM 
quiatoess , through the merits of Jt>su.< ( 
our Saviour. J[/#. 

A Coif tut for Aiittyubutt Pfrik 

OLORD, our heavenly Father, hv ' 
Almirfjty powor we have been tins, 
this day ; By thy great morcy dcfon/1 us i 
ill pens and dangers of this ni^htj i; (! 
oye of % only Son, our Saviour. Jesui ( 'i 







.sienfc of the Oi 
rafce Sfctrtea, and all in Cicil Autfaif 
^ LORD, , our heavenly Father, thc-' 

S! d ^^^^ uf tho ni "fl- 
from thytfirone behold all the c 

Most 




ton. 

od perfttt 
, and other 






Amen. 



Prtyer/or all Cto&to* tf&*- 
GOD, the Crtfltor and Preaemr of all 
! we hua^ly beseech thee for u I , 
;' thatthou would- | 



ways known unto ' 
aH nations. More 



j eat be pleaaed to nuikd 
1 them, thy savingherifc t 
I especially wo pray fpr thy holy Church tin.- 
1 terwl that it may be so guidea and goveruwl i 
by thy good Spirit^ that aU-who proibss and , 
call themselves CliriBtiaus may baled iulotlic : 
way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of j 
J wirnt^ ift the bond of peace, and in righteous- , 
! ncsg of life, finally, vc commend to thy fa- , 
thflrly goodness all those who are any way* j 
i ftftlicleC or distressed, in mind, b'ody, or estate ; - 
' that it may please thee to comfort and relieve ', 
; tiena, acooTOing to -their, several necessities ; i 
i giving tnom patieaco under their suffering 
: and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. 
! And this \vtbtfi for Jesua Christ's sake. Amen. 



ALMIGHTY God, Father of all mercies, w, 
JLJL (June unwortliy servanta, do give i\\w 
most humble and hearty thanks* for all thy 
goodness and loving-kindness to us, and to all 
Uioiu We Weaj theo for our creation, prcscr- ' 
fatioti, and all the blessings of this life ; but 
ibwre all, for thine inestimable love in tl^ ' 
Wdemptiun of the world by our Lord .k-*u , 



of the Confederate Museum at Richmond 



PRAYER BOOK OF JEFFERSON DAVIS 



THE END OF AN IDEA 291 

twirling of his gold-headed cane, the inevitable "mild 
Havana" and the perpetual smile were to convince the 
passers-by that the Secretary of State was upon some usual 
errand. 2 The other members of the Cabinet, who had been 
summoned from their respective churches as was the Presi- 
dent, were soon at the Executive offices. Davis' orders were 
that the Government of the Confederacy should move that 
night to Danville, at the same time that General Lee was 
evacuating Petersburg. A special train was to take him and 
his Cabinet, but it was nearly midnight before the necessary 
arrangements had been finished. The various Departments 
were assembling their papers and boxes, and wagons were 
loaded with them and hurried off to the depot to be put 
aboard the train. It had been thought that the cover of the 
night would make the evacuation less startling to the people. 
But by afternoon when it was once sensed what had come 
upon the city the long stream of refugees with their house- 
hold goods poured out from all parts of Richmond. They 
sought the wide spaces beyond. It was afternoon too when 
Davis had finished his work at the Executive offices. He 
then went to his home. On the way the people came out 
from their houses and asked him if it were true, this rumor 
of evacuation. It was, he said, but he hoped "we would 
under better auspices again return." He recalled in later 
years how it was the ladies who said, "If the success of the 
cause requires you to give up Richmond we are content." It 
touched him deeply. He had been under almost constant 
censure by his own people for many months past. 

This hurrying crowd was the signal too for the rabble that 
had infested the city during the war, the type that Davis had 
turned away from their ghoulish intent in the so-called bread 
riots of 1863. It was their moment to gather in crowds and 



292 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

wait their sinister chance. And they were hunger mad- 
dened. The patrols instituted by order of the Mayor and 
City Council went about their business in a half-hearted 
fashion and thinned away before the night was done. 

Then, like a fury, doom swept over the city. 

The order had been given to destroy all the liquor. But 
it flowed through the streets and gutters and the rabble 
caught it as best they could. They and the rest of the civilian 
population knew law and order had gone when they saw the 
three bridges across the James in flames. It meant that 
General Ewell had taken the last of the troops over them. 

Presently more light flamed up against the sky. The 
order to destroy the warehouses had been obeyed with great 
care. But it soon meant a, holocaust, and the crowds with 
their little savings of household things still went on through 
the night out towards the darkness. There would be no fire 
there. Others got no further than Capitol Square. Here 
one might perhaps breathe, for a smoke pall lay over the 
city. Here, too, odd bits of household things were piled 
broken furniture, things thrown out as houses had burned. 
The shouting and uncertain cries changed with the sound 
of explosions. 

In the early morning the dippity-clop of horses' feet was 
the first signal of military occupation. A squadron of Mas- 
sachusetts troopers, sent by General Weitzel, had entered 
the city undisturbed. A little later their guidons were 
stacked in Capitol Square. The wild night was over. Davis 
and such members of his Cabinet as were with him were 
bumping over the war worn rails towards Danville. His 
knowledge of the firing of the warehouses that caused the 
conflagration came subsequently from others. But he clears 
the soldiers of both armies of all responsibility in the matter. 8 



THE END OF AN IDEA 293 

A week later, the day after Appomattox, when young 
Charles Francis Adams' regiment came into Richmond, the 
city lay quiet and in repose on its seven hills with the rivers 
in peaceful flow. The wild turmoil was as something long 
gone by. What Adams did hear was that Lee had sur- 
rendered. His detail took him on towards Petersburg. 

It was a scene of devastation through the camps of the 
two armies. The stumps of trees and huts marked the 
encampments, with roads "now leading nowhere, now 
whither." There were the rifle pits, abatis and forts all 
about. It was the stillness the sense of it all being "freshly 
deserted" that stirred him. He thought it would be years 
before "the scars would disappear from the soil." 4 

Even by the 5th of April Davis had been unable to com- 
municate with Lee. He was later to learn that Lee had 
taken the Army toward Lynchburg with a half-formed hope 
of reaching the mountains, there to take up the defensive* 
It was not unlike his own hope to take the Confederate Gov- 
ernment and himself to the trans-Mississippi as where he 
could more easily seek to make better terms of peace. The 
trans-Mississippi seemed a hinterland of hope and promise. 
Three days later he was writing his wife from Danville that 
he still had not heard from General Lee and that he would 
"conform his movements to the military necessities of the 
case." They were setting up the machinery of Government $ 
there would be an executive office where current business 
could be transacted. At this time he is unwilling to leave 
Virginia, yet he does not know where in her borders "the 
requisite houses for the Departments and the Congress could 
be found." But with such details in doubt he still feels he 
must hearten his people and explain as well the need that 



294 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

compelled the evacuation. So for the last time on April 5 
he issues a message: 

The General-in-Chief found it necessary to make such 
movements of his troops as to uncover the Capital. It would 
be unwise to conceal the moral and material injury to our 
cause resulting from its occupation by the enemy. It is 
equally unwise and unworthy of us to allow our energies 
to falter and our efforts to become relaxed under reverses, 
however calamitous they may be. It is for us, my country- 
men, to show by our bearing under reverses, how wretched 
has been the self-deception of those who have believed us 
less able to endure misfortune with fortitude than to en- 
counter danger with courage. 

We have now entered upon a new phase of the struggle. 
. . . Let us but will it and we shall be free. 

Animated by that confidence in your spirit and fortitude 
which never yet failed me, I announce to you, fellow coun- 
trymen, that it is my purpose to maintain your cause with 
my whole heart and soulj that I will never consent to 
abandon to the enemy one foot of the soil of any of the 
States of the Confederacy. 

To Virginia, who has had to receive the main shock of the 
war, he makes a specific promise: 

That if by the stress of numbers, we should be com- 
pelled to a temporary withdrawal from her limits or those 
of any other border State, we will return until the baffled 
and exhausted enemy shall abandon in despair his endless 
and impossible task of making slaves of a people resolved to 
be free. 

Let us, then, not despond, my countrymen, but, relying 
on God, meet the foe with fresh defiance and with uncon- 
quered and unconquerable hearts. 

JEFFERSON DAVIS. 



THE END OF AN IDEA 295 

In after years he said this last proclamation of his to his 
people was "over-sanguine." It is not Davis at his best, but 
it is an admirable instance of the haughty pride that admitted 
of no discouragement. He was heartening his people to 
the end. 

It was five days later that young Lieutenant Wise rode 
through to Danville to tell the President of the Confederacy 
that Lee had surrendered. It was the first word he had 
received. 

The Confederate Government moved again. Davis' hope 
that it might be established elsewhere in Virginia failed. 
And they moved on to Greensboro in North Carolina. 
There he and his Cabinet waited to make further decision. 
A place was found for the President at the house of Colonel 
John Taylor Wood of his staff. The Cabinet took up their 
quarters in an old passenger car, with a negro boy to cook 
for them in the field close by. Foraging brought some 
results there were some naval stores that had been brought 
from Richmond that could be tapped, and Mr. Trenholm's 
hampers were still not exhausted. This Cabinet car became 
a part of all the history of the flight. 6 By the nth an invi- 
tation was sent to General Joseph E. Johnston to come to 
Greensboro for a conference. General Beauregard's head- 
quarters were there, and Mr. Davis believed some disposition 
of the Confederate forces other than those that had been 
the Army of Northern Virginia might be made to stay the 
Federal troops. Three days later a letter to his wife shows 
that while heartening his people Jefferson Davis had in 
reality little hope. His anxiety is for his wife and his 
children. 



29 6 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

Greensboro, N. C, April 14, 1865. 

Dear Winnie: 

I will come to you if I can. Everything is dark. You 
should prepare for the worst by dividing your baggage so 
as to move in wagons. If you can go to Abbeville, it seems 
best as I now advise. If you can send everything there, do 
so. I have lingered on the road and labored to little purpose. 
My love to the children and Maggie. 

God bless, guide and preserve you, ever prays 

Your most affectionate 

BANNY. 

P.S. I sent you a telegram, but fear it was stopped on the 
road General Bonham bears this. His horse is at the door, 
he awaits me to write this. Again and ever yours. 6 

What he did not write was that the people of Greensboro 
held him responsible for the now fast-failing cause. His 
foes were those of his own household. There was little 
courtesy shown their President. The outlook was indeed 
dark. 

The meeting with Generals Johnston and Beauregard took 
place here. It was a military problem the President of the 
Confederacy put to them. He was unwilling to accept the 
surrender of Lee as the end of the war. Southern inde- 
pendence was, in his mind, not lost at Appomattox. The 
Army of Northern Virginia for some time past had been re- 
cruited from the Far South, and the men, many of them, 
had gone home. Supplies were ample throughout the Lower 
South. Yet through the long months from October to April 
the Army around Petersburg were on starvation rations. It 
was the old story of transportation. 

The conference with General Johnston and General Beau- 
regard took place in the house of John Taylor Wood, where 
the President was staying, in a small bedroom on the second 



THE END OF AN IDEA 297 

floor. Mallory, Benjamin, Reagan and Breckenridge found 
such places as they could in this small twelve-by-sixteen room 
with its bed, a few chairs and writing table. Trenholm was 
too ill to be present, but finance was no longer a vital subject. 
When General Johnston and General Beauregard came, 
the President, with the ease that was habitual with him, made 
the moment a simple one. He was an extremely good 
mimic. He talked of subjects quite remote and there were 
anecdotes and pleasantry. He had made this routine a prac- 
tice in all the Cabinet meetings and this one was to be no 
exception. It was all part of Southern living. Any occasion 
must be agreeable. But it was Johnston's hour. When the 
President said, "I think we can whip the enemy yet if our 
people will turn out," it met with no response. It was a 
tense moment Davis, folding and unfolding a small piece 
of paper he had in his hands, his face immovable while 
Johnston told of his men's deserting since they had heard 
of Lee's surrender. Secretary Mallory recalled all these 
details. 7 The quiet of the President now controlling his 
mind and face with his will, and listening to the end. John- 
ston won over the group to believe that the time had come to 
begin discussion with Sherman. Further resistance, in his 
opinion, seemed futile, and Beauregard concurred. The 
word "surrender" had been used by some of the Cabinet. 
Worn and beaten by his own people, Davis' opinion of get- 
ting a sufficient force together in the South for further resist- 
ance went unheeded in the quiet of this small room. The 
President was doubtful if the Federal forces would treat with 
them. Johnston thought negotiations could be opened with 
Sherman, and Davis dictated the letter. But the terms as 
arranged between Johnston and Sherman were not approved 
by the United States Government. The only terms could 



298 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

be those that were made with Lee. Johnston later told Sher- 
man he thought further fighting would have been "murder." 

Soon a slipping away further to the South was begun, and 
Charlotte became the place for the symbol of a Government. 
Here the people were friendly. The length of the stay was 
problematical. Mrs. Davis, who had established herself 
there some days earlier, was gone when her husband and his 
Cabinet arrived. With rumors of a raid, she had thought 
it wiser to move on to Chester. Later, she wrote, perhaps 
she would go on to Washington, Georgia, or Abbeville, 
South Carolina. A telegram handed to Davis just as he was 
dismounting gave him the information that Lincoln had 
been assassinated. "I certainly have no special regard for 
Mr. Lincoln," was his comment, "but there are a great many 
men of whose end I would much rather have heard than 
his." 8 Some near-by troopers cheered when this news was 
read to them. 9 

From Charlotte he writes Mrs. Davis of how the plan to 
reorganize the forces in the South has failed. "The dis- 
persion of Lee's army and the surrender of the remnant 
which remained with him destroyed the hopes I entertained 
when we parted. Had that Army held together I am now 
confident we could have successfully executed the plan which 
I sketched to you and would have been to-day on the high 
road to independence." It was the same unquenchable opti- 
mism. "Even after that disaster," he continues, "if the men 
who 'straggled' had held together say thirty or forty 
thousand in number had come back with their arms and 
with a disposition to fight, we might have repaired the dam- 
age 5 but all was sadly the reverse of that. They threw away 
their arms and were uncontrollably resolved to go home. 
. . . Panic has seized the country." He plans for her and 



THE END OF AN IDEA 299 

the children that they may not be in absolute want. For 
himself he writes, "It may be that our enemy will prefer 
to banish me." He holds a half hope a familiar one with 
him that with a devoted band of cavalry some two thou- 
sand had been assembled at Charlotte he might in time 
reach the trans-Mississippi country. He had become again 
the soldier. He speaks of Mexico. There he would "have 
the world from which to choose a location." "Farewell, 
my dear, there may be better things in store for us than 
are now in view, but my love is all I have to offer, and that 
has the value of a thing long possessed and sure not to be 
lost. Once more, and, with God's favor, for a short time 
only, farewell." 

The time had now come to leave Charlotte. Disbanding 
and seeking flight are not the ways of a soldier. Perhaps 
there was the hidden hope that even at this late time, and 
with the small escort forces at his command, Davis would be 
equal to meeting the enemy, reckoned to be near. The intent 
back of this was the illusive belief that took shape in that 
ghost-like army to be miraculously brought together across 
the Mississippi. The lay members of his party, his Cabinet, 
thought that flight was the only thing for him, that the 
President should secure his personal safety. They were 
seemingly perplexed about their own course of action. The 
Secretary of the Navy, Mallory, found he must attend to 
the needs of his family. He had previously told his Presi- 
dent that he did not intend to leave the country. He further 
was not in sympathy with the vague trans-Mississippi plans 
of his Chief. He thought any plan for prolonging the war 
wrong. When the party reached Washington he handed in 
his resignation. The Secretary of War, Breckenridge, had 
remained with some of the cavalry at the Savannah River. 



300 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

General Breckenridge's intention was, however, to follow 
Mr. Davis. But it so happened he never saw him again. 
When he heard that his President had been captured he 
sought the Florida coast in company with John Taylor 
Wood, who at the moment of Mr. Davis' capture made a 
quiet escape in the excitement of getting the Great Prisoner. 
Later both succeeded in reaching ^the West Indies in an open 
boat. 

Mr. Benjamin, worn with arduous duties as Secretary of 
State, found horseback riding difficult. He determined to 
change his route and his conveyance. He left his President 
at a halt for breakfast with some smiling intent of meeting 
him in that hoped-for trans-Mississippi adventure. As a 
matter of fact, they met again in England some ten years 
later, where Benjamin's legal aptitude and Oriental splendor 
had taken the fancy of the benchers of the Inns of Court. 

The stay at Washington, Georgia, was not long. There 
was rumor of the pursuing Federal troops. But what was 
worse to this harassed political soldier was that Johnston had 
surrendered to Sherman. He roused himself even at this 
to keep a hope of assembling some force west of the Mis- 
sissippi. It was part of the dogged will of the man that 
his enemies among his own people called obstinacy. So it 
went on. From Washington the way for them lay to the 
South to reach, if possible, points beyond Federal occupa- 
tion. Then word was brought of a band of marauders, the 
off-scourings of both armies. Davis altered his plan. He 
would go East and try to overtake his family, who, with his 
secretary and an escort, were making their way to the Florida 
coast 

In the moonlit country through a long night, Davis rode 
with his staff. Shadows came over the road, and they proved 




From a drawing by the special artist of tin- Illustrated London News, July, 1, 1SG5. 
MR. DAVIS AND HIS CABFNKT CROSSING THE GEORGIA RIDGES 



THE END OF AN IDEA 301 

to be soldiers of an Alabama regiment homeward bound. 
They had passed an encampment of wagons and there were 
women and children, they said. A short distance on the 
President heard a familiar voice. It was his secretary. Bur- 
ton N. Harrison, who with other men were on post around 
the camp. They had thought when the moon had gone 
down the sky, the marauders would attack the party. 

Some days before Mrs. Davis had written her husband, 
"Leave your escort and take another route often. Alabama 
is full of cavalry, fresh and earnest in pursuit." Now at 
last they were together, and, with the coming dawn, they 
rode on, rode for several days, out of reach, so Davis 
thought, of the marauding band. He then would feel it safe 
to leave his family. He was not beaten. He would go on 
with the vague plan of assembling a force. Such a place 
near Irwinsville, he believed, had been found. He delayed 
a night, however, because one of his staff had picked up the 
rumor that the marauders would attack then. His pistols 
were ready in their holsters. His horse was kept saddled. 
As a soldier he was ready for an emergency. Then, fully 
dressed, he lay down to rest. 

At dawn, Jim Jones, the negro coachman who had come 
with Mrs. Davis from Richmond, roused Davis to tell him 
there was firing near the encampment. Davis' soldier eye 
saw cavalry, not marauders. Colonel Prichard and his 4th 
Michigan Cavalry had found the encampment, through a 
negro whom they had met on the road giving them the 
information. Turning back to his wife's tent to tell her 
that the marauders were cavalry surrounding the camp, he 
saw as well that he could not reach his horse and holsters 
for the troopers were coming down that road. It was still 
dark in the tent, and the "raglan" he picked up and put over 



302 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

his shoulders was his wife's, and not his own, so very like it. 
As he went out again she threw a shawl over his head. A 
trooper halted him and demanded his surrender. Davis 
promptly dropped the raglan and the shawl and gave, he 
says, "a defiant answer." One of the 4th Michigan Cavalry 
recalled the answer as being, "If there is a man among you, 
shoot me." The trooper raised his carbine to fire, and Mrs. 
Davis ran and threw her arms about her husband. His 
chance of escape had gone. 

The morning was chilly and there was a fire on the other 
side of the tent. Davis went there. Firing had begun on 
the other side of the encampment and the 4th Michigan 
Cavalry quickly turned and fired. It was a Wisconsin regi- 
ment of cavalry which had been pursuing the President of 
the Confederacy, and had come by another road. Waste of 
life had been going on now a long time. So this accidental 
firing upon their own men was just a little more. 

A trunk of Mrs. Davis' was opened, though it cost a Fed- 
eral trooper his hand, for in opening it his carbine went off. 
But a hoop skirt was taken out of the trunk. A raglan, a 
shawl, a hoop skirt. War hysteria provided the rest, and 
journals, cartoons, the whole world was to hear that Jeffer- 
son Davis sought to make his escape in a woman's clothes. 
One way the fiction lived was because P. T. Barnum gave 
Broadway a chance to see night after night a representation 
of the capture with the woman's clothes. It seemed to 
the South that this was very characteristic of the North. It 
was very characteristic of a showman. Horace Greeley was 
a showman too. But it was a better type of showmanship, 
although going bond for the bail of Jefferson Davis cost him 
some social recognition. 10 It was all part of the ugly murk 
that rises from the ashes of war. 



THE END OF AN IDEA 303 

Soon a long journey was begun. There was a stop at 
Macon where the ranking Federal officer in that part of the 
South received the prisoner. They had been at West Point 
together, this General Wilson and Davis. It was at Macon 
Davis learned that he was charged with being in a con- 
spiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. He told General 
Wilson there was one man in the United States that knew 
the proclamation to be false, and that was the person, 
Andrew Johnson, who signed it, for "he at least knew," 
said Mr. Davis, "that I preferred Lincoln to himself." 
What Andrew Johnson came to know was that he had 
put his signature to a State paper supplied by Judge Advocate 
General Holt, and that the charge was false, based, as it was, 
on perjured testimony. 

The end of the journey was to be Fortress Monroe. But 
the way lay through Augusta, and in Augusta, Woodrow 
Wilson, a boy of eight, saw this grim sight of the President 
of the Confederacy being led a captive under a Federal 
guard. "And yet one can find a likeness." 

At Fortress Monroe for two long years Mr. Davis was a 
State prisoner. There were some ugly things in connection 
with it. He was shackled, but happily not for long. Later 
he was moved from the casement of the Fortress to Carroll 
Hall, a building that at one time had been used as Officers' 
Quarters. His physician, Dr. Craven, thought him a sin- 
gularly cultivated and interesting man. He found him to 
have an unusual scientific knowledge of his section of the 
country. The days he had spent in hunting, in fishing, he 
had used his mind and his eye. His recreation had seem- 
ingly been turned to scientific account. 11 They talked of 
many things, these two men, and once it was of President 
Johnson. "He was," Mr. Davis said, "indifferent to money 



304 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

and careless of praise or censure when satisfied of the neces- 
sity of any line of action. But for his decided attitude against 
secession, he would probably have been given the place of 
Stephens on the Presidential ticket of the Confederacy." 

Richmond hailed him the day of his release on bail in 
May, 1867, hailed him as she had not always done during 
the years the city had been the seat of the Confederate Gov- 
ernment. The correspondent of the Boston Advertiser who 
witnessed it thought the ovation given Davis was such as 
Boston "never gave anybody or any cause." 12 Nineteen 
months later his release came with the dismissal of the. indict- 
ment by the Circuit Court at Richmond, which was dropped 
as well from the docket of the Supreme Court of the 
United States. The General Amnesty of Christmas Day, 
1868, covering all those who had participated in the war, 
made possible the dismissal. It was one of many entangle- 
ments of Reconstruction politics. The Radicals of Congress 
through their influence had held off the release as long as 
their evil planning would work. 13 

Mr. Davis once said that justice was an eminent feature 
of Andrew Johnson's character. 14 



Chapter XVII At the Long Last 

HE had set "so rich a main on the nice hazard of one doubt- 
ful hour," and lost. They had called him one of the Hot- 
spurs of the South. They had called him many things 
through the four long years. Now the quiet of time was 
easing his days. It was not the roses of Brierfield, nor its 
garden, but a garden of a different beauty which was all 
about him. The chime of the blue waters of the Gulf of 
Mexico hummed along the sandy beach in front of his house. 
Gray moss swayed from the live oaks that, with the pines 
and cypresses, made a forest over the many acres that sur- 
rounded Beauvoir. There was the orange grove too. He 
felt it a personal loss when a rare frost winter-killed the 
young trees. Here at Beauvoir he found peace of a kind. 
The place was to mean home to him his last. 

Since that May day in 1867 when he had been released 
from prison at Fortress Monroe he had moved from place to 
place, following a mood or a reason. The slow paces of 
adjustment to ordinary living measured the strength of the 
man imprisoned for two years. It was on an April day two 
years before that he had left Richmond, and this May day 
of his release brought him back again for a few hours. "I 
feel like an unhappy ghost visiting this much-beloved city," x 
he said. The family then went to Canada where his children 
were in school and where too he found many other Confed- 
erates who had gone there either during or directly after the 
war. His old Commissioner Mr. Mason was at Toronto. 
He seemingly did not share his fellow Commissioner Mr. 

303 



3 o6 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

SlidelPs fondness for the French Capital. The Davis family 
finally settled in Lenoxville, Quebec, to take advantage of 
the excellent school connected with Bishop's College for 
the boy Jefferson, and the long slow days of readjustment 
went on. 

Near by outside the village were friends whose place 
"Rock Grove" became a sort of haven for Mr. Davis, who 
was acutely sensitive to sound since his release. Here he 
spent much of his time until it was found that the cold of the 
Canadian winter was too hard upon him, and the following 
spring the family were in England. Gladstone's doubtful 
oratory on the Tyne would have made Davis an interesting 
figure in England if nothing else, but he had many friends 
there, people who had never felt the neutrality for America 
the English Government had proclaimed, but had been 
wholly sympathizers with the South, and he was at home at 
once. He was received in the Houses of Parliament where 
for so long he hoped would be heard the magic word, recog- 
nition, which would have taken on a full meaning for the 
Confederacy. And once there had been a time when he was 
cheered by the students at Oxford. 

The various enterprises Mr. Davis had undertaken to 
restore his lost fortunes had met with no success. The presi- 
dency of an insurance company in Memphis brought its own 
defeat. The city welcomed their ex-President. The people 
offered him a house, but fine pride made him decline. He 
must be independent. But in time the company failed. Yel- 
low fever made the risks too high. Mr. Davis said it was a 
satisfaction to him that his own personal loss was so large. 
Yet his head was unbowed. Personal sorrow alone could do 
that, and that came in the death of his brother Joseph and 
one of his own sons William. 



AT THE LONG LAST 307 

Always with Mr. Davis the dream of empire lay near the 
surface of his thoughts. Now it was that the glory that was 
New Orleans should be hers again, and other cities of the 
Lower South. Trade communications should be developed 
between the South American States and the old city whose 
port was the gateway to the Seven Seas. A society was 
formed, The Mississippi Valley Society, made up of a South- 
ern and an English company, whose ships were to have the 
carrying trade and make exchange for manufactured articles 
with raw materials in foreign ports. This plan too failed. 
Capital was not easily found, and when it was, sought a quick 
return. Trade routes develop slowly. The accustomed ways 
on the seas held, for the industries at the North and in New 
England needed the raw materials for manufacture, 2 and the 
ships continued to sail the Western Ocean to the Northern 
ports. Capital was there, too. So that dream faded away. 
The affairs of the Society were settled, and once again Mr. 
Davis sought quiet and peace among his roses. 

Brierfield was in litigation. After his brother Joseph's 
death both the plantations, "The Hurricane" and "Brier- 
field," were waiting adjudication, burdened with debt. The 
Federals too had made the destruction pretty complete. 
Ultimately some of "Brierfield" was restored to Mr. Davis, 
and he hoped in time it would again produce an income. 
While waiting for that he sought some place of quiet where 
he could undertake the work of writing a history of the Con- 
federacy. His choice was Beauvoir on the Gulf about half 
way between New Orleans and Mobile. He rented from a 
Mrs. Sarah A. Dorsey, a schoolmate and friend of his wife's, 
a small cottage near the main house. Here he established 
himself with his books and papers, and made arrangements 
for the coming of his family. The task he had undertaken 



3 o8 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

was, a heavy one, and he was three years in completing it. 
During this time the scourge of the South came upon them. 
Jefferson, Jr., the only surviving son, died of yellow fever, 
as did Mrs. Dorsey, the gracious owner of the main house. 
The latter with fine delicacy had made Mr: Davis her 
executor. At her death he was to find that Beauvoir House, 
which she "had sold" to him on pride-permitting terms, had 
been left to him, and in the event of his refusing it, it was to 
revert to his daughter Winnie, then a minor. So it was that 
Beauvoir House became his last home, as it is now that of 
surviving Confederate soldiers. 

The house was ample, built high from the ground with 
spacious verandas running about it reached by broad steps. 
The wide hall through the center of the house caught such 
breezes as the waters of the Gulf gave off and made a cool 
living room for the summer months. The outbuildings ran 
off from the rear, and on either side of the main house were 
two small cottages. The tropical sun urged the garden and 
the grounds to a growth and beauty of their own. 

Here the work upon the book went on from iSyStoiSSi. 
The mere physical effort of writing was irksome to Davis. 
It had always been so, and Mrs. Davis would take his dicta- 
tion. Judge Tenney had been sent by his publishers to give 
such aid as he might require and his old friend, Major W. T. 
Walthall, who was to leave some interesting reminiscences, 
worked with him. In 1881 The Rise and Fall of the Con- 
-federate Government was published. Its two large volumes 
contained much important material, and as a statement of the 
doctrine of secession in all its bearings it will remain, per- 
haps, one of the best. But the work is disappointing from 
many angles. It is not a history of the Confederate Govern- 
ment. It is Jefferson Davis's apologia. It was said of Gib- 



AT THE LONG LAST 309 

bon's autobiography that he did not seem to know the dif- 
ference between himself and the Roman Empire. So it was 
with Davis. "He had too feminine a jealousy of any rivalry 
in authority," and the history of the Confederacy became 
himself. He had so long been the Saint Sebastian of the 
struggle} the arrows of foe and friend alike had pierced him 
very deeply. He took the arrows out, but he showed his 
own wounds. There is too a heavy over-balance of military 
matters. It was a soldier writing the book. Both as officer 
and administrator, soldiering had been a major interest of 
his life. 

The book did not meet with success. It was expensive, 
and the South then, in 1881, was still too near the point that 
Sidney Lanier wrote of "pretty much the whole of life 
had been merely not dying," for the buying of books to be a 
general practice. Friends wrote to him that the book was 
not having sales. "I hear little of it here," his friend Wright 
wrote him from Chicago, 3 who feared the book would not 
prove profitable to him. In time there was controversy with 
his publishers. They were not pushing the book enough. 
General Grant's memoirs had become the best seller of the 
moment running up past two hundred thousand copies. 
The sensitive author, whose book showed a sale of but a few 
thousand copies in two years' time, thought it could be ex- 
plained only by some lack on the part of his publishers. The 
complaint, however, had no basis in fact. 4 A GeneraPs record 
of his successful campaigns inevitably was more engrossing 
than a personal explanation of a lost cause, whatever the 
quality of the writing as literature. 

He told a young journalist who came to see him that his 
purpose in writing the book had been to give young students 
of politics a chance to get their history from original sources. 



310 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

He did not seem to care to talk about the book and declared 
himself indifferent to critics a defense reaction from his 
vanity, perhaps. His interviewer, who happened to be young 
Walter Hines Page, had found in his journeyings through 
the South that the tide of interest in the old secession ques- 
tion had gone out. .It had ceased to be a question. The 
slowly gathering efforts for the advancing South had changed 
the thought from the old order. Mr. Davis and what he 
wrote would claim respectful attention. But the book the 
South wanted to read was one whose pages were made day 
by day in their own living. Young Page's impression of the 
courtly gentleman who rose to meet him in the piazza at 
Beauvoir when he went to see him was of -a man unbent 
by age, "elegant" in manner, and his conversation of rare 
interest. He felt the accustomed spell of the voice, which he 
says "had much to do with his [Davis'] recognition and 
swift advancement in political life." 5 But he was a sad 
solitary, living by the waters of this nearly land-locked sea 
a man without a country. And the young j ournalist with the 
instinct of his craft realized that the man before him could 
not be related to any present subject in the public mind. 
He was the symbol of an idea that was gone. 

Just a year before he died he made a speech at Mississippi 
City. It was his message to the younger generation: 

Mr. Chairman and Fellow Citizens: 

Ah, pardon me^ the laws of the United States no longer 
permit me to designate you as fellow citizens, but I am 
thankful I may address you as my friends. I feel no regret 
that I stand before you this afternoon a man without a coun- 
try, for my ambition lies buried in the grave of the Con- 
federacy. 

There has been consigned not only my ambition, but the 



AT THE LONG LAST 31 1 

dogmas on which that government was based. The faces I 
see before me are those of young men: had I not known this 
I would not have appeared before you. Men in whose hands 
the destinies of our Southland lie: for love of her I break my 
silence to speak to you a few words of respectful admonition. 
The past is dead, let it bury its dead, its hopes, its aspira- 
tions 5 before you lies the future a future full of golden 
promise 5 a future of expanding national glory, before which 
all the world shall stand amazed. Let me beseech you to lay 
aside all rancor, all bitter, sectional feeling and to make 
your places in the ranks of those who will bring about *a con- 
summation devoutly to be wished' a reunited country." 6 

Beauvoir was soon to be a place of pilgrimage. Many 
came through regard for the man 5 many with a curious in- 
terest 5 and still many others because with the passage of 
time Davis became more and more the symbol of the idea 
for which the South had given its life. To those who had 
not seen him since the Richmond days he. would seem 
changed. The full beard he now wore lengthened the clear- 
cut face, and concealed the "chin like CalhounV But the 
visitors found the same courtliness, the same "almost un- 
rivaled eloquence of conversation" that brought back the Con- 
federate President. 7 The bitter personal resentment toward 
him because of military preferments, which was used as the 
reason for the failure of the cause, lessened with the years. 
They thought of him now only as the President of the Con- 
federacy. Presently the different cities in the South wanted 
to see and hear him speak once again, and in 1886, after liv- 
ing in retirement some twenty years, he went among his 
people to be heartened with their cheers. 

He had accepted an invitation to lay the cornerstone of a 
monument to the Confederate dead in the capitol grounds of 
Montgomery. It was his first public appearance. Again, as 



3 i2 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

in 1861, his carriage was drawn by four white horses, each 
led by a negro in livery. He stood upon the steps of the 
portico of the Capitol, where twenty-five years before he had 
taken his oath of office as President of the Confederacy. 
Before him were his Confederate veterans and their families. 
Above him this time the Stars and Stripes whipped out in the 
wind. He was old and feeble now, and leaned upon a cane, 
but he told his people he felt he had come home again, had 
come to the land "where liberty dies not and heroic senti- 
ments live forever." And the newspapers the following day 
carried the caption "True to His Two Flags. Noble Senti- 
ments of Dixie's Heroic Ex-President." 8 The journey con- 
tinued to Atlanta, and all along the route as stops were made 
the old leader was cheered and cheered. At Atlanta, where 
he made the address at the unveiling of the statue of Benja- 
min H. Hill, there was the same enthusiastic greeting, the 
same immense crowds to hail their former chief. But it was 
wearisome business, and the strain of it all began to tell on 
Mr. Davis. He did, however, go on to Savannajh, to attend 
the celebration of the Centennial of the Chatham Artillery 
and make an address. This was the zenith of his acclaim. 
The car in which he came from Atlanta was decorated with 
red, white and blue, and on either side the word "Davis" in 
immortelles, and between festoons the inscriptions "Buena 
Vista" and "He Was Manacled for Us." Oddly enough, 
these two inscriptions proclaimed what had "fired the South- 
ern heart" for him. A military record and a martyrdom. 
The South could respond to both of these. The visit to 
Savannah lasted four idays. Wherever Mr. Davis appeared 
the people crowded about him to shake his hand, to try to 
catch a word with him. The school children strewed with 
roses the lane through which he walked. The house where 



AT THE LONG LAST 313 

he stayed in Taylor Street facing the Square was constantly 
surrounded by people begging for a sight of him. He would 
come out occasionally on the iron balconies which ran across 
the front of the house and make a speech. His hostess still 
remembers what gracious guests he and his daughter Winnie 
were. His only exaction was that an eggnog be served him 
before breakfast. He declined all invitations but one. He 
accepted Doctor J. J. Waring's invitation to be present at the 
unveiling of the tablets at the Greene Monument placed 
there by the Georgia Historical Society and the City Council. 
There was, it will be remembered, the tradition that his 
mother was a niece of General Greene. 

The fatigue of the four days proved too great and it was 
decided that Mr. Davis should go directly to New Orleans 
and not visit the other cities which had hoped for a visit. 
When he left Savannah this time it was by train, acclaimed 
by his people. Twenty-five years before he had been taken 
to a boat moored to the old quay, reached by curving walls 
and iron stairways, and under guard of Federal soldiers, to 
begin the voyage to Fortress Monroe. His Southland now 
had given all honors which could not be misconstrued. 
"They were open and sincere," one paper said in commenting 
upon them, and "if they make the remaining years of his life 
happier then they have not been in vain." He was soon 
back m Beauvoir, occupied with little concerns, spending 
many hours in his library or going on with his correspond- 
ence, which he always dictated to Mrs. Davis, waiting really 
for the peace at the last. 

He was often approached for his opinions on public mat- 
ters. Frequently he felt indifferent alike to the question or 
to making a reply. But after he had been persuaded once 



3 14 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

more to go among his people and had been cheered by his 
reception, he would answer the queries put to him. 

He approved the idea of H. W. Pope for a court of arbi- 
tration to secure equally the confidence of labor and capital, 
and he believed that it "should be based on something like 
the cooperative principle of industrial partnership in which 
the wages of employees should be measured by the profits 
of the corporation." * 

On prohibition his views were even more far seeing. He 
applied to it the principle he had stated in connection with the 
Compromise Measure i^ 1850 that no act of Congress 
could be enforced in any State if public opinion was against 
it. Texas, at the time, was presenting a constitutional amend- 
ment, to be submitted to popular vote, prohibiting the manu- 
facture or sale of any intoxicating liquors, including wine, ale 
and beer. He consented to write a letter for publication on 
the subject, breaking a long silence because of his belief that 
a question of American policy was involved. It was at the 
urgent request of his friend, Governor F. R. Lubbock. As 
a student of Democracy, he was of the opinion that "the 
world is governed too much." He then went on: 

"When our fathers achieved their independence, the cor- 
nerstone of the governments they constructed was individual 
liberty, and the social organizations they established were 
not for the surrender, but for the protection of natural rights. 
For this, governments were established deriving their just 
powers from the consent of the governed. . . . There was 
then a two-fold purpose in Government: protection and pre- 
vention against trespass by the strong upon the weak, the 
many on the few. 

"The world had long suffered from the oppressions of 
government under the pretext of ruling by Divine right, and 



AT THE LONG LAST 315 

excusing the invasion into private and domestic affairs on 
the plea of paternal care for the morals and good order of 
the people. 

"Our sires rejected all such pretensions, their system be- 
ing: Government by the people, for the people, and resting 
on the basis of natural inalienable rights." 

Mr. Davis, in 1886, had momentarily returned to his 
earlier manner in theory of government. He then says he 
will answer the query concerning the prohibition amendment. 

"That the intemperate use of intoxicating liquors is an 
evil, few, if any, will deny. That it is the root of many 
social disorders is conceded, but then the question arises, what 
is the appropriate remedy and what the present necessity? 
To destroy individual liberty and moral responsibility would 
be to eradicate one evil by the substitution of another, which 
it is submitted would be more fatal than that for which it was 
offered as a remedy. The abuse, and not the use, of stimu- 
lants, it must be confessed, is the evil to be remembered. 
Then it clearly follows that action should clearly be directed 
against the abuse rather than the use. If drunkenness be the 
cause of disorder and crime, why not pronounce drunkenness 
itself to be a crime, and attach to it proper and adequate pen- 
alties? If it be objected that the penalties could not be en- 
forced, that is an admission that popular opinion would be 
opposed to the law." Here is the notion reminiscent of the 
1850 speech. He then brings his argument in the inquiry to 
"the present necessity." "I might appeal to men not as old 
as myself to sustain the assertion that the convivial use of 
intoxicants and the occurrence of drunkenness had become 
less frequent within the last twenty-five years than it was 
before. The refining influences of education and Christian- 
ity may be credited with this result. Why not allow these 



316 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

blessed handmaidens of virtue and morality to continue un- 
embarrassed in their civilizing work. . . . You have already 
provision for local prohibition." Mr. Davis reverts to the 
States' Rights theory. "If it has proven the wooden horse," 
he continues, "in which a disguised enemy to State sov- 
ereignty as the guardian of individual liberty was introduced, 
then let it be a warning that the progressive march would 
probably be from village to State, and from State to United 
States." 10 

This letter, it was thought, helped to defeat the amend- 
ment at the polls. An immediate effect of its publication was 
for a bishop of the Methodist Church South to criticize Mr. 
Davis. It appears that the bishop did so more than once for 
Mr. Davis addresses an open letter to him. He refers to 
the bishop's "persistence in unjustified assailment," and then 
tells of his own grief that "a dignitary of the Methodist 
Church South should have left the pulpit and the Bible to 
mount the political rostrum and plead the higher law of pro- 
hibition the substitution of force for free will, moral re- 
sponsibility, and the brotherly love. ... In this I see the 
forbidden union of Church and State." He praises the 
work done by the Methodist Church South, its "fidelity to 
principle despite the pressure of wealth and power," and he 
recalls the prophetic vision of Bishop Marvin: "Will it be 
fulfilled by introducing politics into the Church he so nobly 
illustrated?" he asks. "Fanaticism looks through a reversed 
telescope, minimizing everything save its special object." 
He recalls too that at one time sumptuary laws embraced 
what should be worn and eaten. 

If we begin the march of retrogression where will it stop? 
If, as already proposed, there should be Federal laws to 
enforce the prohibition policy, your recollection of war and 



AT THE LONG LAST 3x7 

reconstruction days should enable you to anticipate the doings 
of an army of spies, informers, and deputy marshals making 
domiciliary visits to insure the observance of the law. The 
moral decay which would inevitably result from such a con- 
dition needs no portrayal. . . . There are surely better 
remedies for offence against the peace and good order of 
society than such a departure from our principles of consti- 
tutional liberty and community independence as would be 
Federal legislation to enforce a sumptuary law." 

He concludes somewhat pointedly. 

"The month [he writes] in which you made your ad- 
dress is reputed to have had an exceptionally large number 
of assassinations. The newspapers have many notices of 
burglaries, robberies, rape and infanticides. Divorces are 
shamefully frequent. . . . The colossal wealth of the few 
grows in geometrical proportions, while the toiling millions 
plod on their weary way. Are all these and other evils, 
crimes and misfortunes not enumerated, due to one cause, 
or is the one idea a universal absorbent? n 

The Methodist Bishop continued the attack, and numbers 
of his clergy did as well, and they even made him "the theme 
of sermons." The subject was one of major interest at 
that time. 

It was in this wise that at his quiet home by the tideless 
sea of the Gulf this aged man's single attempt to enunciate an 
American principle was received by Christian leaders. Mr. 
Davis was called many things j a doctrinaire, scholar, the 
ugly word traitor, statesman. It was too early to call him 
prophet. 

Mr. Davis might very well have included in his letter to 
Governor Lubbock what his interpretation was of an amend- 
ment, its meaning and the significance of what it could 
accomplish. He stated it very explicitly in his Rise and, Fall. 



3i 8 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

"I submit," he says, "that the word 'amendment' necessarily 
implies an improvement upon something which is possessed, 
and can have no proper application to that which did not 
previously exist." 12 

It was late autumn, in November, 1889, and he went to 
Brierfield on one of his visits in the interest of his affairs. 
The Mississippi, twice rising to the flood, had left its telling 
waste on the Brierfield lands and put new burdens on the 
debts already attached to the plantation. It was an old and 
broken man who stood now for the last time among the 
ruins and the roses. A single crumbling chimney was all 
that was left. The tangled desolation lay about him every- 
where. The river alone was unchanged 5 still went on "un- 
vexed to the sea." The blue and white herons rose from 
the marshes or busied themselves in the lush swamp growth. 
The hot tropical sun was still helping the yield of the land. 

But he was already too ill to look after the affairs that 
had brought him there. He had taken a chill on the boat, 
and his last illness had its beginning. He made the effort 
to get back to Beauvoir, but on reaching New Orleans it was 
thought unwise to allow him to go further, and he was taken 
to the house of his old friend Mr. J. U. Payne. Mrs. Davis, 
who had been sent for to come to Brierfield, met her husband 
while on his way down the Mississippi, and so was with him 
when they reached New Orleans. 

The room they took him to was at the corner of the house 
in the rear and gave on the gardens where the camellia bushes 
bloomed and the clusters of oranges on the trees were golden 
in the sun. Into the room itself the Southern sun poured 
throughout the day. Here, in such quiet and in the old city 
which some forty years before had hailed him as a military 
hero after Buena Vista, he died, on December 6, 1889. 



AT THE LONG LAST 319 

The Governors of nine States were his pallbearers. The 
Grand Army of the Republic took part in the ceremonies, and 
the city made solemn tribute to their dead leader. They laid 
him in a tomb in the old Metairie Cemetery. But that was 
temporary. Richmond, which had been the heart of the 
Confederacy, claimed him, and some four years later he was 
buried on a hillside in Hollywood Cemetery, in sight of the 
other river with which his life had been linked, the James. 
The roses now covered Jefferson Davis. 



Chapter XVIII Epilogue 

THE man who left his roses at the summons of a group of 
men determined upon political revolution came to his end 
as part of a broken hope part, in fact, of the devastation 
that lay across the Southland. The war hysteria of both 
South and North decreed that the blame should be largely 
fastened upon him.Y In the one case he was the symbol of an 
idea that had failed and with its failure there had been laid 
waste a civilization. In the other, he was the leader who, 
to serve his own ambition and because of his interest in 
slavery, cared little if the republic whose flag he had sworn 
to defend were wrecked. 

The same thing would have been said of any one who had 
been in his place. 

He was a soldier by taste and a political leader by accident. 
But his way of living took him into politics as naturally as 
his lands took him into cotton planting. 

The unit of the plantation was in miniature the South- 
erner's view of his State. By the nature of things it was self- 
contained. And the end and purpose of living was to bring 
the plantation to its own perfection. For the purpose of the 
political unit, the county mattered, a notion taken over from 
England, and the logical step from the county to the State, 
since sovereignty was essential, was an easy and lasting one. 

An organized group developed on the right of secession 
could scarcely be expected to have felt itself tightly bound to 
a Confederacy, which in other days in order to hold together 
had had to devise a new arrangement and develop "a more 

320 



EPILOGUE 321 

perfect union." But that it, the Southern Confederacy, 
barely survived two years, in little more than in name, must 
have indicated to some of the thoughtful minds the hand- 
writing on the wall. The political growth that passed so 
quickly from the unit of the plantation to that of the county, 
and from there to the State, was not over-zealous for a 
further grouping under the title of Confederacy. The 
Confederacy failed in large measure because the habit of 
thought which made the sovereignty of a State supreme 
made any group of States a yielding of supremacy, and that 
was unacceptable to the Southern mind. South Carolina 
would doubtless have been glad to have remained outside 
the Confederacy and other States would as easily have pur- 
sued the same course. It took the common purpose of a war 
to bring and keep the seceding States together, and not the 
least part of Mr. Davis' superhuman task was to foster the 
idea that the States were allies, creating a force to be under 
a unified command the Confederate Army. 

That the notion of the State so completely held the minds 
of the people is the more remarkable when boundaries were 
vague, almost invisible borders, and frontiers but the lines of 
will and hopes. It is possible to believe that had there been 
no Civil War and the dream of empire in the Southern mind 
come true, there would have been a war between the South- 
ern States, so taut was the sense of individual rights when 
once the political unit was accepted. When the time came 
that the sharp cleavage divided the Confederacy, Davis and 
his management of its affairs were made the ostensible expla- 
nation. It was in reality more the States' insistence of their 
own claim, but the way to show it was to turn the elections 
against the Administration. 

The idea of an independent nation did not exist so much 



322 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

in the mind of the Southern voter as it did in that of the 
Southern planters, and the independent nation could exist 
only on the basis that its wealth was maintained through 
slavery. 

No War President could escape criticism. None has. 
Lincoln was under as sharp attack as Davis, and the poli- 
ticians in one half of the country plied their selfish trade as 
well as in the other. In the South success could only be 
hoped for if complete support were given to the President 
and the Government. The States seceded in principle by 
failing to uphold their President and in doing it they lost 
their Cause, and blamed their leader. 

As an individualist, any yielding of supremacy was unpal- 
atable to a man of Davis' type, but he was single-minded in 
his loyalty and devotion to his cause.\His critics in the South 
say he was not shrewd enough nor conciliatory enough to 
have played the politician as head of the Confederacy, He 
did lack that experience of men as they meet and counter 
one another in the world's business and an insight into their 
peculiar powers for special leaderships. One critic finds him 
on the whole a wise ruler but that he lost the confidence of 
the Southern people because his conception of the practice 
of politics was so inadequate.*; They thought him too much 
the scholar.^ Pollard, the editor of the Richmond Examiner 
through the war, who could always find fault with him, said 
"his scholarship smelt of the closet." v He had bookish 
tastes, but he was not a scholar in the scholastic sense. He 
took his Scott and the romance of the Waverly Novels in the 
same stride he did his hunting and his dogs and the task of 
politics. It was all part of the scholar-planter's life. Scott 
was to the South what Gilbert White's Selborne was to the 
English countryside.^ Davis read and liked his Tennyson 



EPILOGUE 323 

but not to the point of always carrying a copy of the poems 
around with him as did his Secretary of State. And the 
poems of Tennyson's great friend, Arthur Hugh Clough, 
were often read. 

"Where lies the land to which the ship would go? 
Far, far ahead is all her seamen know." 

And Burns he knew so well that he had but to be given a line 
to go on to the end. Byron and Moore, he read because they 
pleased him, but the intellectuals did not interest him. He 
admitted finding Milton a bore and Browning appealed to 
him not at all. He frequently quoted his Virgil, and in the 
earlier part of his life he read Spanish literature because it 
gave him pleasure. Those eight years at Brierfield, passed 
in quiet study of the history of political thought, had 
equipped him with a knowledge of results, but seem not to 
have given him so clear an understanding of how they had 
been reached. As a matter of fact he had not the scholar's 
approach to a subject, but he had the habit of reflection 
gained in those years of a planter's life, and his Scotch-Irish 
tenacity to an idea made for continuity in his thinking. 
He never retracted from the position of the rights of seces- 
sion, nor would he accept the pardon which by the General 
Amnesty issued by President Johnson was held to include 
him. 

"As for me I speak only for myself our cause was so 
just, so sacred, that had I known all that is come to pass, had 
I known what was to be inflicted upon me, all that my coun- 
try was to suffer, all that our posterity was to endure, I would 
do it all over again." 2 He would admit no intellectual de- 
feat, so he found no defects in his endeavors. "* ^ ^ 

Affairs of State were his occupation, but only in a restricted 



324 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

sense was he a statesman. Like the men of his time he 
dreamed of empire to offset the inroads on the control of the 
Government the rapid growth of the industrial North had 
made. And he adjusted his political theory to meet that 
situation. 

The defining of statesmanship is a sport of the Anglo- 
Saxon who shapes it generally to conform to his notion of 
political theory. The man who seems best to have achieved 
for his government those actions that exhibit the theory in 
successful operation wins the title. Mr. Davis found his 
theory could not be put into successful operation. But his 
was not alone the blame $ he shared that with others. It was 
the recognition of that on the part of the South that in the 
last years of his life made his people pay the tribute many 
had so long denied him. 

When given the Presidency he had a divided allegiance. 
He was at heart the soldier, and his Government, of which 
he was the head, had at once to deal with a soldier's business. 
He threw his strength in that direction and left the affairs 
of State more to the ingenuities of Mr. Benjamin's active 
brain. 

He was not a great executive. He could not delegate 
power, but he could heed the representations of the man who 
best understood that his vanity must be fed. The President's 
messages to his Congress were often the handiwork of this 
skilled workman, 3 so Benjamin took some pains to record. 
Had Davis been in uniform he would have better pleased 
his people as well as himself, but the man of destiny as he 
appeared to the men at Montgomery in 1861 could best 
serve them in civilian dress. 

That he over-directed the military end of his Government 
was contemporary opinion. His military appointments and 



EPILOGUE 325 

removals met with approval or condemnation as is inevitably 
the case. After the manner of all war-time executives he 
was praised and blamed. The war was but a few months 
old when in advancing Lee as full General over Joseph E. 
Johnston he laid the foundation for a lasting enmity between 
Johnston and himself. Generals Beauregard, Stonewall 
Jackson and others all sooner or later met with the auto- 
cratic displeasure. It was the opinion of one British Army 
officer that the most serious disasters that the Confederate 
Army suffered were due in the main because officers had been 
given their command rank for reasons other than their actual 
qualifications. 4 This same officer points out that the peculiar 
opportunity Mr. Davis had, as Secretary of War of the 
United States, to know the abilities of many of the officers 
who came into the Confederate service had enabled him to 
put into the higher commands the most experienced men. 5 
When he ignored the South's demand for the appointment of 
distinguished civilians to high commands, he made himself 
disliked in the exact ratio of his failure to do their bidding. 
He had great regard for the West Point training, and he 
sought to utilize it at every opportunity. It was usual to 
accuse him of favoritism among his own friends in giving 
preferment to the men of his own class at the Military Acad- 
emy. In reality he was drawing on material of which he 
knew something. From the first he had said if war came it 
would be a long one. It was the professional soldier speak- 
ing. His two-fold leadership as head of a Government and 
G)mmander-in-Chief worked for weakness in results. 
When he paid off political debts, a poor commander was not 
unlikely. When he acted in his capacity as military head he 
was using the knowledge of an expert. His weakness lay 
when he "took leave to act as if he understood much better 



326 JEFFERSON DAVIS 

than those did who were in actual command what should be 
done in the field." 

Davis kept his relations agreeable with his official family 
with a fair degree of success. There were only the average 
number of changes. The able Toombs never undertook to 
come again into official relation with Davis after his brief 
service as Secretary of State. He declined the War portfolio : 
"I would not be Mr. Davis 5 Chief Clerk. His Secretary of 
War can never be anything else." His Vice-President never 
agreed with him either in a policy or in its execution, but 
kept up Cabinet courtesy. Stephens was away from Rich- 
mond for two years, so out of sympathy was he with his 
President. His greatest offense was that he talked of peace 
without victory. When Davis asked him to come back to 
Richmond in the late autumn of 1864, he did so. 8 

Davis was neither resourceful nor f oresighted in his ca- 
pacity of Commander-in-Chief of his army. He was un- 
equal to dealing in large figures for the needs that the magni- 
tude of the task demanded. He was confident that could he 
have taken the field himself the army would have been in- 
vincible. Such a mental attitude served him well through 
the long and difficult years when his sensitivity was often 
rudely wounded. He had always the recourse of the egoist, 
an immovable faith in his own decisions. 

He was part of a system that called for autocracy in the 
ways of living, but when he carried the principle to deal with 
his own squirearchy thrown into a cataclysm where statesman- 
ship of a high order was necessary, he had only the equip- 
ment of theory and personal magnetism. He caught the 
people whom his voice reached, but he held them only for 
the duration of its sound. 

He had no power over these same people when they dif- 



EPILOGUE 327 

fered with him. His vanity admitted of no rebuke, and he 
recognized a mental equal only when their ideas coincided. 
He was a man of intellect, a student in affairs and a master 
of accomplishments. He was sensitive to the point of tor- 
ture, as the thin lips sometimes betrayed. But they could 
be made to straighten into a firm line that indicated his un- 
bending will. Only that could have carried him through the 
years of illness, when the acute nervous crises would hold 
him in exquisite pain and leave him physically unequal for 
the task of the moment. His courage was uribueptfoned, as 
was his personal integrity. "He heartened a whole people 
to hold steadfast to the end," but he seems never to have had 
wholly the heart of his people. Perhaps his greatest tragedy 
was that he never knew how to get it. He was a leader of a 
cause but not of men. 



Notes 

CHAPTER I 

1 Archives des Affaires etrangeres. Vol. 124, pp. 59, 60. Ministere des 
Affaires etrangeres. Paris. 

2 Archives des Afaires etrangeres, Vol. 124, pp. 5-7. January 4, 1861. 
8 American Historical Review, January, 1924, p. 255. 

4 F. O. 5 American Section, Vol. 760, No. 66. Public Record Office, London. 

5 F. O. American Section, Vol. 780, No. 28. 

6 E. D. Adams, Great Britain and the American Civil War, Vol. I, p. 53. 

CHAPTER II 

1 Davis, Memoir > Vol. I, p. 4. 
2/fcV.,Vol.I,p. 6. 

8 A. C. Gordon, Davis, p. 2. 

* Mississippi Valley Historical Association, Vol. IX, p. 153. 

5 John Maclean, History of the College of New Jersey, Vol. I, pp. 194-229. 

6 S. E. Morison, Oxford History of the United States, Vol. I, p. 193. 

7 Memoir, Vol. I, p. 17. 

9 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 5. 

9 Dunbar Rowland, Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist, Vol. IV, p. 301. 

10 Mississippi Valley Historical Association, Vol. IX, p. 164. 
^Memoir, Vol. I, pp. 15-16. 

12 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 21. 

13 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 27. 

CHAPTER III 

1F The Association of the Graduates of the U. S. Military Academy, 1883- 
1890, p. 30. Library U. S. Military Academy. 

2 Memoir, Vol. I, p. 51. 

8 Rowland, Davis, Constitutionalist, Vol. I, p. i. 

* Official Registers from 1818-1838. U. S. Military Academy Library, 
*lbid., 1818-1838. 

6 Ibid. 

7 Memoir, Vol. I, p. 526. 

8 Letters of a West Pointer, 1860-1861. American Historical Review, April, 
1928, p. 611, note. 

* Rawle, p. 289, cited by Walter L. Fleming, Davis at West Point, Pub- 
lications of Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. X, p. 256. 

329 



330 NOTES 

10 Memoir, Vol. I, p. 51. 

11 Report of the Commission on the U. S. Military Academy, Dec. 13, 1860. 
Abstract by E. S. Holden, Late Librarian of the Academy, August, 1903. 

12 John Bigelow, Retrospections of an Active Life y Vol. I, p. 338. 

13 W. H. Russell, My Diary North and. South, p. 69. 

14 Early Times at Fort Winnebago J> j Satterlee Clark. Wisconsin His- 
torical Collection, Vol. VIII, p. 312. Cited by Beveridge, Lincoln, Vol. I, 
p. 119. 

15 Records War Department. Cited by Beveridge, Lincoln, Vol. I, p. 123, 
footnote. 

^Memoir, Vol. I, p. 143. 

17 W. E. Dodd, Davis, p. 38. Cong. Globe 31, Cong, ist Session, July 13, 
1850. Memoir, Vol. I, pp. 89, 90, where the text is less dramatic. 

18 G. Bradford, Confederate Portraits, p. 103. 

19 Pub. Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. XII, p. 32. 

20 Memoir, Vol. I, p. 413. 



CHAPTER IV 

1 U. B. Phillips, Life and Labor in the Old South, p. 362. 

2 F. L. Olmsted, A Journey in the Back Country, p. 1 9* 
8 Phillips, Life and Labor, p. 104. 

4 Phillips, American Negro Slavery, p. 171. 
s Ibid., p. 179. 

6 Harper's Weekly, February, 1859, cited by Olmsted, A Journey in the 
Back Countryy p. 27. 

7 Memoir, Vol. I, pp. 191, 192. 

8 Olmsted, A Journey m the Back Country, pp. 14, 15. 

9 E. Rowland, Vanna Howett, p. 230. 

10 Morison, Oxford History, Vol. II, p. 6. 

11 Olmsted, A Journey in the Back Country, pp. 51-2. 

12 Memoir y Vol. I, p. 177, 



CHAPTER V 

1 Memoir, Vol. I, p. 8. 

2 Education of Henry Adams, p. 246. 
8 Memoir, Vol. I, pp. 185-186. 

4 London Times, July 13, 1849. 

5 Dodd, Lincoln or Lee?, p. 97. 

6 A historical survey of the debts of the State of Mississippi was made by 
the Council of Foreign Bondholders and its findings published in part in the 
Times, April 3, 1928. 

7 H. J. Eckenrode, Jefferson Davis, p. 38. 

8 Beveridge, Lincoln, Vol. II, p. 83. 
* Dodd, Davis, p. 69. 

10 Memoir, Vol. I, pp. 243, 244. 

11 Dodd, Davis, p. 73. 



NOTES 331 

12 Morison, Oxford, History, Vol. II, p. 46- 
18 Memoir y Vol. I, p. 230. 

14 Dodd, Davis, p. 74. 

15 Phillips, L*7* o/ Robert Toombs, pp. 36, 38. 

16 29th Congress, ist Sess., March 16, 1846. Cited by Dodd, Davis, p. 76. 

17 James D. Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents^ Vol. IV, 
p. 442. 

CHAPTER VI 

1 Woodrow Wilson, History of the American People, Vol. IV, p. 102. 

2 G. T. Curtis, Life of James Buchanan, Vol. I, p. 544. 
8 G. M. Trevelyan, History of England, p. 664. 

4 Curtis, 'Buchanan, Vol. I, p. 593. 

6 P. Guedalla, The Second Empire, p. 320. 

6 Curtis, "Buchanan, Vol. I, pp. 587, 598. 

7 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 597- 

8 Justin Smith, The War 'with Mexico, Vol. I, p. 146. 
^ Ibid., Vol. I, p. 155- 

*o Memoir, Vol. I, p. 285. 

11 Polk, The Diary of a President, edited by Allan Kevins, p. 90. 

^Memoir, Vol. I, p. 295. 

18 Gordon, Davis, p. 58. 

14 Rowland, Davis, Constitutionalist, Vol. I, pp. 52, 57. 
15 Nevins, Polk, p. 133. 

16 Smith, War with Mexico, Vol. I, pp. 257-258. 

17 Memoir, Vol. I, pp. 302, 303. 

18 Smith, War 'with Mexico, Vol. I, p. 505. These facts are drawn freely 
from this chapter on Monterey. 

19 Rowland, Davis, Constitutionalist, Vol. I, p. 49. 

20 Rowland, Ibid., Vol. I, p. 190. 

21 Dodd, Davis, p. 83. 

22 Memoir, Vol. I, pp. 333-334- 

23 Beveridge, Lincoln, Vol. I, p. 380. 

24 Memoir, Vol. I, p. 31 6. 

25 Diary of Col. Sylvester Churchill, U. S. A. 

26 F. H. Alfriend, Life of Jefferson Davis, p. 67. 



CHAPTER VII 

1 Rowland, Davis, Constitutionalist, Vol. I, pp. 93, 94. 

2 Memoir, Vol. I, p. 268. 

8 W. J. Rhees, The Smitfaonian Institution, Vol. I, p. 369. 

4 Dodd, Davis, p. i o i . 

6 Nicholas Roosevelt, Tfie Restless Pacific, pp. 20, 21. 

6 Morison, Oxford History, Vol. II, p. 92, note. 

7 Phillips, Toombs, p. 94. 

8 Dodd, Davis, p. 114. 

9 Charles Francis Adams. An Autobiography, p. 59. 



332 NOTES 

10 Frederika Bremer, Homes of the New World, Vol. I, p. 463. 

* x Morison, Oxford History, Vol. II, p. 102. 

12 Lord Charnwood, Lincoln, p. 94. 

18 Savannah Morning News, Dec. 13, 1889. 

14 Beveridge, Lincoln, Vol. I, p. 447. Cited in The Battery, a Whig cam- 
paign paper. 

15 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 72. 

** Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 83-85. See Cong. Globe, 3ist Congress, ist Session, 
XXII, Pt. i, Appendix, 149-57. 
17 Dodd, Davis, p. 114. 

18 Phillips, Toombs, p. 100. 

19 Italics author's. 

20 Cong. Globe, ist Sess. 32nd Congress} App., p. 171. Quoted by Mr. 
McRae, who succeeded Mr. Davis in the U. S. Senate. Miss. Historical 
Society Publications. Vol. IV, p. 102, note. 

21 Jefferson Davis, Rise and Fall, Vol. I, p. 19. 

22 Bremer, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 129. 

28 E. Rowland, Varina Hovjell, p. 264. 

24 Memoir, Vol. I, p. 468. 

25 New Orleans Picayune, March n, 1850. Cited by Beveridge, Lincoln, 
Vol. II, p. 1 1 6. 

26 P. Butler, Judah P. Benjamin, pp. 177, 178. 



CHAPTER VIII 

1 E. Rowland, Varina Howell, p. 269, note. 

2 Memoir, Vol. I, pp. 471, 472. 

8 Wilson, A History of the American People, Vol. IV, p. 157. 

4 Memoir, Vol. I, p. 477. 

5 Do<Jd, Davis, p. 131, citing Rhodes, History of the United States, Vol. I, 

P- 393; 

6 Ibid., pp. 137-140. 

7 Ibid., p. 142. 

8 Rhodes, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 425-437. 

& Trevelyan, British History in the Nineteenth Century, p. 295. 
10 Rowland, Davis, Constitutionalist, Vol. II, p. 237. 
"^Memoir, Vol. I, pp. 482-483. 

12 Louisiana State University Bulletin, April, 1909. Reprinted from Popu- 
lar Science Monthly, February, 1909. 

18 Army and Navy Journal, July 9, 1864. 

14 Buchanan Papers, Pennsylvania Historical Society. 

15 Memoir, Vol. I, pp. 492, 493. 

16 Joseph B. Bishop, Theodore Roosevelt and His Time^ Vol. I, pp. 41, 42. 

17 Southern Historical Society Papers, Vols. 37-38, p. 107. 

18 Memoir, Vol. I, p. 518. 

19 Buchanan Papers, Pennsylvania Historical Society. 

20 Curtis, Buchanan, Vol. II, p. 78. 

21 Adams, An Autobiography, p. 49. 

22 American Historical Review, Vol. X, pp. 355, 356. 



NOTES 333 



CHAPTER IX 

I North American Review, Jan., 1924, p. 2. 
2 Morison, Oxford History, Vol. II, p. 116, note, 
8 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 113. 

*Dodd, Davis, ip. 154. 

5 Rhodes, of. cit., Vol. II, p. 43. 

6 Morison, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 117. 

7 Beard, American Civilization, Vol. II, p. 12. 

8 Wilson, History, Vol. IV, pp. 165, 166. 

9 Beveridge, Lincoln, Vol. I, p. 579. 

10 Macdonald, D. S. B., p. 399. 

II Morison, of. cit., Vol. II, p. 127. 
12 H. White, Lyman Trumbull, p. 83. 
Ibid., p. 8 1. 

x * W. Wilson, Afor* Literature, p. 208. 

15 Curtis, Buchanan, Vol. II, p. 176. 

16 Eckenrode, Davis, p. 61. 

17 American Historical Review, Vol. X, p. 365. 



CHAPTER X 

1 Richmond Disfatch, Nov. 9, 1860. State Library, Richmond. 

2 Ibid., Aug. 20, 1860. 
* Ibid., Aug. 30, 1860, 
4 1 bid., Aug. 29, 1860. 

6 Morison, Oxford History, Vol. II, p. 144, 

6 Macdonald, D. 5. 5., p. 423. 

7 E. D. Adams, of. cit., Vol. I, p. 46, note. 

8 Phillips, Toombs, pp. 200, 201. 

9 Adams, An Autobiography, pp. 48, 49. 

10 Beard, of. cit., Vol. II, p. 65. 

11 Letter to E. B. Washburne, 13 Dec., 1860, cited by Morison, of. cit., 
Vol. II, p. 155- 

12 L. P. Stryker, Andrew Johnson, p. 63. 
18 Alfriend, Davis, p. 217. 

14 Ibid., p. 223. 

15 Rise and Fall, Vol. I, p. 218, 

18 Dodd, Davis, pp. 199-201. Much of the foregoing has been drawn 
from Mr. Dodd's Chapter XII. 

17 Rise and Fall, Vol. I, p. 218. 

18 Rise and Fall, Vol. I, Appendix H, p. 615. 

19 Memoir, Vol. I, pp. 689, 690. 

20 Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 695, 696. 

21 Amer. Hist. Review, Vol. X, p. 365. 

22 Rise and Fall, Vol. I, pp. 6 1 8, 619. 



334 NOTES 



CHAPTER XI 

1 Richmond Dispatch, Feb. 21, 1861. 

2 Rise and Fall, Vol. I, p. 23 1. 

8 A bill containing a similar provision was introduced into Congress by 
Representative Kelly of Pennsylvania in 1922 and met the approval of Mr. 
Hoover, then Secretary of Commerce. New York Times, March 20, '29. 

4 Rise and Fall, Vol. I, p. 230. 

B Beveridge, Lincoln, Vol. I, p. 406. 

6 Richmond Dispatch, Feb. 5, 1861. 

7 Phillips, ToombS) p. 224. 
8 Dodd, Da/vis, p. 223. 

* Rise and Fatt, Vol. I, pp. 232-236. 

10 Clay, A Belle of the Fifties, p. 158. 

11 Birmingham Southern College Bulletin, Dec., 1928, p. 4. 

12 Richmond Dispatch, Mar. 5, 1861. 

13 Ibid., May 14, 1861. 

14 M. B. Chesnut, A Diary from Dixie, p. 49. 

15 Russell, Diary, p. 69. 

16 A Diary from Dixie, p. xx. 

17 Richmond Dispatch, Mar. 13, 1861. 
Ibid., Feb. 21, 1861. 

19 Pickett Papers, Nos. 92 and 39, Library of Congress. 

20 F. O. American Section, Vol. 780, No. 37. 

21 Russell, Dfcjry, p. 32. 

22 Richmond Dispatch, Mar. 13, x86x. 
28 J&* *w* F*#, Vol. I, p. 263. 

24 Eckenrode, Davis, p. 129. 

25 J. P. Randall, The Constitution Under Lincoln, p. 62. 

26 Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Vol. I, p. 61. 

27 Charleston Daily Courier, May 7, 1861. 

28 Richmond Dispatch, April 30, 1861. 

29 Eckenrode, Davis, p. 140. 

CHAPTER XII 

1 Archives des Affaires etrangeres, Vol. 124, p. 91. 

2 Richmond Dispatch, April 17, 1861. 

8 Jones, Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. 14, p. 451. 

4 Morison, op. cit., VoJ. II, p. 167. 

5 Official Records, 1,12. Cited by Rhodes, Civil War, p. 15, 

6 Rhodes, op. cit., p. 24. 

7 Macdonald, D. S. B., p. 435. 

8 April 22, 1861. 

9 A Diary from- Dixie, p. 71. 

10 Richmond Dispatch, May 30, 1861. 
Rise and Fall, Vol. I, p. 305. 

12 Trevelyan, H^ory of England, p. 454. 



NOTES 335 

i 8 Rise and, Fall, Vol. I, p. 305- 
14 Russell, Diary, p. 176. 
* 8 Eckenrode, Davis, p. 149. 

16 Rise and Fall, Vol. I, p. 349- 

17 Charleston Courier^ July 25, 1861. 

18 A Diary from Dixie, p. 87. 

* 9 Charleston Mercury, July 23, 1861. 
**Rise and Fall, Vol. I, p. 350. 

21 North American Review, Vol. 129, pp. 482, 483. 

22 W. M. Robinson, Confederate Privateers, p. 47. 
** A D/'ary from Dixie, p. 89. 

24 Rhodes, op. cit., p. 46. 

25 ^ Dairy /ro#* Dtt*, p. 90. 
28 Phillips, Toombs, p. 237. 

27 Southern Hist. Soc. Papers, June, 1923, Part I, p. 39. 

28 Seymour, Intimate Papers of Colonel House, Vol. Ill, p. 10. 

29 Morison, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 267. 
** Ibid., Vol. II, p. 267. 

81 F. L. Owsley, State Rights in the Confederacy, p. 208. 

82 Dodd, Davis, p. 292. 

88 Beard, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 78. 

84 Randall, Constitutional Problems, p. 508. 

85 Charleston Mercury, Mar. 4, 1862. 

86 Penn. Hist. Soc., Presidents of the U. S. and Their Cabinets, Vol. III. 

37 Archives des Affaires etrangeres, Vol. 126, pp. 181, 183. 

38 Morison, Oxford* History, Vol. II, p. 172, note. 

89 Dodd, Davis, p. 260. 

40 Richardson, Messages and Papers, Vol. I, pp. 158, 162. Cited by Dodd. 

41 Mrs. Grace Lea Hunt, Some Old Southern Letters. Privately printed. 

42 Hunt, ibid. 

43 Dodd, Davis, p. 271. 

44 Rhodes, Civil War, p. 130. 

45 Rhodes, op. cit., p. 142. 

46 Gideon Welles' Diary, cited by Bigelow, Retrospections, Vol. I, p. 523. 

47 Rhodes, op. cit., p. 163. 

48 0. W. R., Ser. I, XX, Pt. II, 446. Cited by E. Lonn, Desertion During 
the Civil War, p. 43. 

49 0. W. R., Ser. I, XIX, Pt. I, 143- Cited by Lonn, op. at., p. 25. 

80 A Diary from Dixie, p. 249. 

81 Eckenrode, Davis, p. 193. 
** Memoir, Vol. II, p. 366. 

83 Dodd, Davis, p. 295. 

84 G. F. R. Henderson, Stonewall Jackson, Vol. II, p. 336, citing from 
Battles & Leaders of tlie Civil War> Vol. Ill, p. 84. 

55 Charleston Mercury, Dec. 30, 1862. 

86 E. D. Adams, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 65. 

87 Dodd, Davis, p. 297. 

88 Eckenrode, Davis, p. 196. 



33 6 NOTES 

CHAPTER XIII 

1 E. A. Pollard, Lost Cause, p. 360- 

2 J. L. Motley, Correspondence, Vol. II, p. 101. 

8 Dodd, Lincoln or Lee?, p. 84. 

4 Russell Papers. Cited by E. D. Adams, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 107. 

5 E. D. Adams, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 112. 

6 Clay, A Belle of the Fifties, p. 194- 

7 Morison, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 273, note. 

8 Phillips, Toombsy p. 249. 

9 H. J. Pearce, Jr., Benjamin H. Hill, p. 69. 

10 Adams, An Autobiography, p. 161. 

11 Allen Tate, Stonewall Jackson, p. 280. 

12 Memoir, Vol. II, p. 383. 

18 Rhodes, op. cit., p. 221. O.R. XXV, Part II, 765. 
14 Owsley, Staff Rights in the Confederacy, p. 223. 
Ibid., p. 225. 

16 Ibid., p. 257. 

17 O.#. Ser. i, Vol. XLII, Part II, p. 1268, cited by Owsley, p. 262. 

18 Owsley, pp. 263, 264. 

19 E. J. Putnam, The Lady, p. 323. 
20 Eckenrode, Davis, p. 221. 

21 Clay, A Belle of the Fifties, p. 194. 

22 Eckenrode, Davis, p. 224. 

28 C. F. Adams, Milt, and Dipl. Studies, 310$ Oxford Lecture, 149. Cited 
by Rhodes, Civil War, p. 235. 

24 Rise and Fall, Vol. II, p. 400. 

25 Memoir, Vol. II, p. 393. 

26 Lee y s Confidential Dispatches to Davis, p. ixx. 

27 Memoir, Vol. II, p. 399. 

28 Rise and Fall, Vol. II, p. 443. 

29 Rise and Fall, Vol. II, p. 422. 

80 Rhodes, Civil War, p. 248. 

81 Letter of Major Higginson, Feb. 16, 1905. Cited by Rhodes, p. 259, note. 

82 Eckenrode, Davis, p. 249. 

88 A Diary from Dixie, p. 261. 
84 Clay, A Belle of the Fifties, p. 228. 

86 Maurice, Lee, the Soldier, p. 233. Cited by Morison, op. cit., Vol. II, 
p. 306- 

86 Memoir, Vol. II, p. 494. 

87 A Diary from Dixie, p. 309. 

88 Dodd, Davis, p. 324. 

89 Letterbook of Governor Joseph E. Brown, Executive Department, No- 
vember 14, 1864, Georgia State Capitol Library, Atlanta. 

40 Ibid., Feb. 10, 1864. 

41 Letter from James Lyons to Major W. T. Walthall. 

42 Atlanta Journal, Sunday Magazine, April i, 1928, Article by Haywood 
J. Pearce, Jr. 

48 Dodd, Davis, p. 335. 



NOTES 337 

44 Eckenrode, Doris, p. 273. 

45 Ibid. 9 pp. 3^6, 3*7- 

46 Dodd, Davis, p. 345- 

47 Lee y s Dispatcfos, p. 325* note. 

48 February 7, 1865. 

4 Memoir, Vol. II, p. 5*9- 
* Lee's Dispatches, p. 358. 

CHAPTER XIV 

1 See p. 240. 

2 Rise and Fall, Vol. I, p. 313- 

8 R. W. Winston, Andrew Johnson, pp. 215, 216. 

4 F. O. American Section, Draft No. 43 > Vol. 754. 

5 Guedalla, Palmerston, p. 408. 

F. O. American Section, Draft No. 43, Vol. 754. 

?F. O. American Section, Draft No. 100, Vol. 754. 

8 F! O. American Section, Draft No. 140, Vol. 755. 

^ Rise and Fall, Vol. II, p. 369. 

10 J. P. Baxter, 3rd, American Historical Review, Oct., 1928, p. n, and 

n n Documents, J. P. Baxter, 3rd, in American Historical Review, Oct., 
1928, p. 78. This and the following drawn freely from this source. 

12 A Diary from Dixie, p. 117. 

13 Baxter, American Historical Review, Oct., 1928, p. 15. 

14 Pickett Papers, No. 118. Library of Congress. 

"Layard Papers, Vol. LVIII, Add. Mss. 38988, British Museum. 

16 Pollard, The Lost Cause , p. 130. 

17 J. Morley, Life of W. E. Gladstone, Vol. II, pp. 66, 67. 

18 Guedalla, Gladstone and Palmers f on, pp. 234, 236. 

19 Feb. 26, 1 86 1. Cited in Adams, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 68. 

20 Adams, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 69, 70. 

21 Morley, Gladstone, Vol. II, p. 83. 

22 Guedalla, Gladstone and Palmerston, pp. 239-247* 

23 Times, November, 1862. Quoted by Adams, ibid., Vol. II, p. 67. 

24 W. H. Russell, in the N. A. Review, Vol. 166, p. 373- Cited by Gamaliel 
Bradford, Confederate Portraits, p. 133- 

25 Memoir, Vol. II, p. 252. 

26 Trevelyan, John Bright, p. 322, note. 
27 Layard Papers, Vol. LIX, 38989, British Museum. 

28 Lord Newton, Lord Lyons, Vol. I, p. 121. . . 

2 * July i, 1863. Mss. Division Library of Congress. Shdell to Benjamin. 

80 Times, July 9, 1863, cited by Adams, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 176, note 3. 

81 Dodd, Davis, p. 101. 

82 Adams, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 250. 
38 Jan. 29, 1863. 

84 July 6, 1861. 

85 Adams, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 229. ..,,. * T 

86 Layard Papers, Vol. LVII, Mss. Division, British Museum, No. 38987- 



338 NOTES 

87 D. L. Murray, Disraeli, p. 182. 

88 Lady Gwendolen Cecil, Life of Robert, Marquis of Salisbury. Vol. I, 
p. 169. 

8 * B. Hendrick, Life and, Letters of Walter Nines Page, Vol. II, Appendix, 

p. 419- 

40 See p. 265. 

41 Lady Gwendolen Cecil, of. cit., Vol. I, p. 1 70. 
**Ibid., Vol. I, p. 164. 

48 Quarterly Review, Vol. 115, p. 296. 

44 Adams, of. cit., Vol. II, p. 195, note. 

45 Letters of E. B. Browning, Vol. II, p. 417. 

46 The Index, Feb. 4, 1864. 



CHAPTER XV 

1 F. O. 5 American Section, Vol. 781, No. 112. 

2 L. M. Sears, Amer. Hist. Review, Jan., 1921, pp. 258, 259. 

8 W. Reed West, Contemporary French Opinion on the Amer. Civil War, 
pp. 60, 64. 

4 J. Bigelow, France and the Confederate Navy, pp. 1 17-125. 

5 West, Contemporary French Opinion on the Civil War, p. 59. 
ft L. M. Sears, American Historical Review, Jan., 1921, p. 263. 

T Benjamin to Slidell, No. 13, Mss. Division, Library of Congress. 

8 Dec. 1 8, 1863. 

9 Bigelow, France and the Confederate Navy, p. 137, and supra. 

10 N. W. Stephenson, The Day of the Confederacy, p. 114, Chronicles of 
America. 

11 Bigelow, France and the Confederate Navy, p. 80. 

12 Slidell to Benjamin, Feb. n, 1862. Mss. Division, Library of Congress. 
18 Nevj York Tribune, Nov. 16, 1863, cited by West, op. cit., p. no. 

14 West, ibid. y p. 112. 

15 Ibid., p. 151. 

16 See p. 281. 

17 Hotze to Benjamin, Jan. 17, 1864. Mss. Div., Library of Congress. 

18 Hotze to Benjamin, March 12, 1864. 

19 Bigelow, Retrospections of an Active Life, Vol. II, p. 106. 

20 Egon C. Corti, Maximilian and Charlotte of Mexico, Vol. I, p. 143. 

21 Perm. Hist Soc. Mss. Letters. Officers of the Civil War Confederate. 
Dreer Collection. 

22 Adams, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 160. 

28 Bigelow, France and the Confederate Navy, pp. 139-141. 

**Ibid., pp. 163, 165. 

25 Clay, op. cit., p. 204. 

28 A. Dudley Mann to Jefferson Davis, dated Brussels, Dec. 17, 1864. 
Burton Harrison Collection, Mss. Div., Library of Congress. 

27 Navarro y Rodrigo, O'Donnell y su Tiempo, p. 195, cited Morison, 
Oxford History, Vol. II, p. 277. 

28 E. Corti, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 123, 124. 



NOTES 339 

CHAPTER XVI 

1 Letter Boot, Confederate Museum, Vol. II, p. 384. 
Secretary Mallory, McClure*s Magazine, Dec., 1900. 
Rise and Fdll, Vol. II, p. 667. 
4 A Cycle of Adams Letters, Vol. II, p. 264.. 
*McClure y s Magazine, December, 1900. 

6 New York Times, Nov. 9, 1913. Letters in Mss. Division, Library of 
Congress. 

7 Secretary Mallory, McClure's Magazine, January, 1901. 
8 Dodd, Davis, p. 359, citing Mallory. 

* Rise and Fall, Vol. II, p. 683. 

10 Stryker, Andrew Johnson, p. 4.73. 

11 J. Craven, Prison Life of Jefferson Davis, pp. 88, 89. 

12 Stryker, Andrew Johnson, p. 472. 

13 Randall, of. cit., pp. 116, 117, citing R. F. Nichols, American Historical 
Review, Vol. XXXI, pp. 266-284, 

14 Craven, of. cit., cited by Stryker, 334. 



CHAPTER XVII 

1 Memoir, Vol. II, p. 794. 

2 Dodd, Davis, p. 374. 

8 Rowland, Davis, Constitutionalist, Vol. IX, p. 27. 

4 G. H. Putnam, Some Memories of the Civil War, pp. 83, 

5 Hendrick, The Training of an American, p. 145. 

6 Rowland, Davis, Constitutionalist, Vol. X, pp. 47, 49. 

7 Southern Society Historical Papers, Vol. XIV, p. 450. 

8 Savannah Morning News, April 30, 1886. 

9 Ibid., April 25, 1886. Georgia Historical Society. 

10 Memoir, Vol. II, pp. 883-886. 

11 Ibid., p. 894. 

12 Rise and Fall, Vol. I, p. 197. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

1 Tate, Jefferson Davis, p. 208. 

2 Rowland, Davis, Constitutionalist, Vol. IX, p. 164. Speech at New 
Orleans, 1882. 

8 Butler, J. P. Benjamin, p. 396. 

4 Henderson, Stonewall Jac&son, VoL I, p. 226. 

8 Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 340-345. 

6 Dodd, Davis, p. 340* 



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34i 



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By Virginia Mason. New York. Neale Publishing Co. 1906. 

Recollections of Mississippi and Mis sis si f pans. By Reuben Davis. 

Boston. Houghton Mifflin Co. 1891. 
Reminiscences of Peace and War. By Sara Agnes Pryor. New 

York. The Macmillan Co. 1905. 
Restless Pacific, The. By Nicholas Roosevelt. New York. 

Charles Scribner's Sons. 1928. 
Retrospections of an Active Life. By John Bigelow. 3 vols. New 

York. The Baker & Taylor Co. 1909. 
Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government. By Jefferson Davis. 

2 vols. New York. D. Appleton & Co. 1881. 
Rise of American Civilization. By C. A. and M. R. Beard. 2 vols. 

New York. The Macmillan Co. 1927. 
Russell, Life of Sir William Howard, The. By John Black 

Atkins. London. J. Murray. 1911. 

Salisbury, Life of Robert, Marquis of. By Lady Gwendolen 

Cecil. 2 vols. London. Hodder & Stoughton. 1921. 
Second Empire, The. By Philip Guedalla. New York. G. P. 

Putnam's Sons. 1928. 
Secret Service of the Confederate States in Europe. By James Dun- 

wody Bulloch. 2 vols. New York. G. P. Putnam's Sons. 

1884. 
Smithsonian Institution. Compiled by W. J. Rhees. 2 vols. 

Washington. Government Printing Office. 1901. 
Some Memories of the Civil War. By George Haven Putnam. 

New York. G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1924. 



348 BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Southern Plantation, The. By F. P. Gaines. New York. Colum- 
bia University Press. 1924. 
Southern Statesmen of the Old Regime. By William P. Trent. 

New York. Thomas Y. Crowell Co. 1897. 
Statesmen and Soldiers of the Civil War. By Major-General Sir 

Frederick Maurice. Boston. Little, Brown & Co. 1926. 
State Rights in the Confederacy. By Frank Lawrence Owsley. 

Chicago. University of Chicago Press. 1925. 
Stephens, Alexander H. By Louis Pendleton. Philadelphia. 

George W. Jacobs & Co. 1908. 
Stonewall Jackson. By Lt.-Col. G. F. R. Henderson. 2 vols. 

New York. Longmans, Green & Co. 1902. 
Stonewall Jackson, the Good Soldier. By Allen Tate. New York. 

Minton, Balch & Co. 1928. 

Taylor, Zachary. By Jefferson Davis. (In Appleton's "Cyclo- 
pedia of American Biography." Vol. VI.) New York. D. 
Appleton & Co. 1887-1900. 

Toombs, Life of Robert. By Ulrich B. Phillips. New York. 
The Macmillan Co. 1913. 

Training of an American, The. By Burton J. Hendrick. Boston. 
Houghton Mifflin Co. 1928. 

Trumbull, The Life of Lyman. By Horace White. Boston. 
Houghton Mifflin Co, 1913. 

Varina Howell, Wife of Jefferson Davis. By Eron Rowland. 
Vol. L New York. The Macmillan Co. 1927. 

War Letters, 1862-186$, of John Chipnan Gray and John Cod- 
man Rofes. Edited by W. C. Ford. Boston. Houghton 
Mifflin Co. 1927. 

War with Mexico, The. By Justin H. Smith. 2 vols. New York. 
The Macmillan Co. 1919. 

CONTEMPORARY NEWSPAPERS 

London Times. 

The Index. From May, 1862, to 1865. London, England. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 



349 



Files of the Newspapers of the South Notably Richmond Dis- 
^atchy Richmond Inquirer, Charleston Daily Courier, Charles- 
ton Mercury, and the Savannah Morning News. 

Army and Navy Journal. 

PERIODICALS 

American Historical Review. July, 1915; July, 1917; January, 

1926; April, 19285 October, 1928. 

Annual Report of the American Historical Association, 1915. 
Fortnightly Review. March, 1898. 
Mississippi Historical Society. Volume II; Volume X; Volume 

XIL 

Mississippi Valley Historical Association. Vol. IX. 
North American Review. January, 1924. Also Vols. 129, 166. 
Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society. 1912. Vol. 

XLV. 
Southern Historical Society Papers. Volume IV; Volume V; Vol- 

ume VI, Part I; Volume XIV; Volume XXXVII; Volume 

XXXVIIL 

Quarterly Review. Through the Period of the War. 
Yale Law Journal. June, 1915. Vol. XXIV. 



Index 



Act of Repudiation, 48, 49"5* 

Adams, Charles Francis, quoted, in, 
180; liking for Davis, 132; in Rich- 
mond, 293 

Adams, Henry, 252 m 

vAHams, John Quincy, 57; estimate of 
Davis, 133 Oi>9r&- 

Advertising, 102 

Alabama, secession, 132 

Alabama, i99 2 5^, 257 

Albert, Prince, 248 

Ampudia, Pedro de, in battle of 
Monterey, 70-71 

"Anaconda policy," 173 

Anderson, Robert, 23, 28; move to 
Fort Sumter, 136, 137; at Fort 
Sumter, 167 

Anglo-American relations, 104, 117- 
118 

Antietam, battle of, 200 

Aristocrats, Southern, 185 

Arkansas joins the Confederacy, 169 

Army Appropriation Bill, 105 

Army of Northern Virginia, 296 

Army of the Cumberland, 229; 
Thomas in command of, 225 

Army of the Ohio, 229 

Army of the Potomac, 194; Grant in 
command of, 227 

Army of the Tennessee, 229 

Army of the United States, strength 
in 1856, 106 

Army of the West, Johnston given 
command of, 226; restored to com- 
mand, 235 

Arnold, Matthew, quoted, 268 

Atlanta, fall of, 232 

Banks, Nathaniel P., 197 

Barnum, P. T., 302 

"Battle of the Prayer-books," 193 

Beauregard, Pierre G. T., 173; de- 
mands evacuation of Fort Sumter, 
167; capture of Fort Sumter, 167- 
168 ; conference with General John- 
ston, 296-297 

Beauvoir, 305, 307, 308, 311, 313 



Benjamin, Judah P., 140, 231; chal- 
lenges Davis to duel, 94; head of 
the Department of Justice of the 
Confederacy, 153 ; faith in Euro- 
pean recognition, 255 ; subsidy offer 
of cotton to France, 274; last meet- 
ing with Davis, 300 

Bissell, William H., challenged to 
duel by Davis, 94 

Black Hawk, Indian chief, 27; im- 
pression of Davis, quoted, 28 

Black Oliver, Grant's horse, 34 

Black Warrior, n8 

Blair, F. P., 236 

Blockade of Southern ports, declared, 
1 68; effect in England and France, 
251, 272-273 ; broken, 277 

Bragg, Braxton, 201, 205, 206; re- 
moval from his command, 225-226 

Ureckenridge, John C., 129, 130, 299; 
made Secretary of War, 237 

Bremer, Fredrika, quoted, 86; praise 
of Senate, 91 

"Brierfield, The," Davis' home, 31, 
78, 95, 143; the "scholar-planter's" 
formative years at, 34-45; self-gov- 
ernment of negroes, 42; in litiga- 
tion, 307; Davis* last visit to, 
31 8 

Bright, Jesse D., 241 ; letter to Davis, 
241; expelled from Senate, 242 

Bright, John, 198 

British Consuls, Confederate govern- 
ment refuses to accept, 258 

British Military School textbook, 198 

Brown, Joseph E., 211, 213 ; insistence 
upon States Rights, 229 

Brown, Albert G., 78 

Brown, John, I2C* 

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 268 

Browning, Robert, 268 

Buchanan, James, as Secretary of 
State, 63, 64; Davis probably re- 
sponsible for his appointment as 
Minister* to England, no; Lecorap- 
ton Constitution, 122; elected Presi- 
dent, 124; Davis' influence over, 



352 



INDEX 



135; Davis* influence superseded, 
136, 137; caution, 142 

Buena Vista, battle of, 74 

Bull Run, battle of, 176; effect upon 
English, 179; second battle of, 
199; defeat of, 262 

"Bull Run Russell," 262 

Bullock, James D., 279 

Bunch, Robert, 4, 157 

Burnside, Ambrose ., in command 
of Army of the Potomac, 203 ; cap- 
ture of Knoxville, 225 

Butler, Benjamin F. ("Beast"), mili- 
tary governor of New Orleans, 
192; "Woman" order, 256 

"Cabin John Bridge," Davis' name 

removed from, 107; restored, 107, 

109 

Cabinet car, 295 
Calhoun, John C., 60; opinion of 

Davis, 85; last speech, 86 
California, joins Union as a free 

State, 66, 83 ; result, 84 
Camels brought to Texas, 20; Davis 

recommends use of, 105 ; Porter and 

Wayne sent to procure, 116 
Campbell, Lord, tribute to Davis, 269 
Campbell, John A*, x6z 
Canada, Reciprocity Treaty with 

United States, 117 
Capitol, Washington, extension of, 

107, no 

Cass, Lewis, 81-82; resignation, 137 
Carlotta, Empress of Mexico, 283 
Cecil, Robert. See Salisbury, Lord 

Robert Cecil 
Cedar Mountain, Pope's defeat at, 

199 
Centreville, McDowell's retreat to, 

X 74 

Chancellors ville, battle of, 214 
Charlotte, N. C., Confederate govern- 
ment moved to, 298 
Chesnut, Mrs., 169; quoted, 155, 156, 

179, 180, 246 

Chickahominy River, 196, 197 
Chickamauga Creek, battle of, 225 
"Civil War" announced, 166 
Clay, Clement C., Jr., 211, 218 
Clay, Mrs. Clement C, Jr., 154 
Clay, Henry, compromise of 1850, 85, 

86, 88, 89, 90, 91 

Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, 104, 117-118 
Cobb, Howell, 55, 99, 156 



Commissioners sent to Europe in in- 
terests of Confederacy, 156, 239, 
243, 246 

Commissioners to Washington, 158, 
165; refused audience, 161, 166 

Committee of Thirteen, 133 

Committee on Military Affairs, Davis 
made Chairman, 113 

Committees on Military Affairs and 
Pensions, 80 

Compromise of 1850, 85, 86, 88, 89, 
90, 91, 114; excerpt from Davis* 
speech on, 30 

Confederate Army, organization, 170; 
not to be one of aggression, 172; 
disease in, 181; States opposed to, 
184; retreat from Yorktown, 194; 
conditions in, 201, 202; individual- 
ism of Southerners opposed to dis- 
cipline, 202; lack of food in, 211; 
starving condition, 237 

Confederate Foreign Cotton Loans, 
284; Gladstone denies subscribing 
to, 253 

"Confederate Gibraltar," 223 

Confederate Museum, 188 

Confederate privateers excluded from 
British ports, 180 

Confederate States of America, 
French attitude toward, 1-3; Brit- 
ish attitude, 3-6; Constitution, 89; 
capital established at Montgom- 
ery, 145, 154; Provisional Consti- 
tution adopted, 147; Cabinet of- 
ficers, 152-153; Provisional Con- 
gress, 156, 157; permanent Con- 
stitution adopted, 156, 159; tariff 
duties, 156; Commission sent to 
Washington, 158, 165; need of 
financial policy, 160; war with 
United States recognized, 163; cap- 
ital moved to Richmond, 164; Cab- 
inet disagreements, 180; foreign 
policy: Confederacy and England, 
239-270; delay in getting arms be- 
fore blockade, 240; English Procla- 
mation of Neutrality, 244, 249; 
Trent affair, 245, 247-248 ; effect of 
blockade: mediation considered, 
251 ; Gladstone's sympathy with the 
South, 252; Laird rams, 257, 284; 
propaganda: English press, 261; 
opinion of literary England, 267- 
268; Confederacy and France, 271- 
288; Slidell as Commissioner to 



INDEX 



353 



France, 271-288; effect of blockade 
on industry, 273, 274.; Mexican 
situation, 275, 278, 281-283, 285- 
287; ship-building at Bordeaux, 
279; the press, 280; Davis orders 
Government moved to Danville, 
291 ; Government moved to Greens- 
boro, 295; moved to Charlotte, 
298 ; cause of failure, 321 

"Congressional Mess," 59, 99 

Conscription Act, passed by Confed- 
erate Congress, 183, 185 ; by United 
States Congress, 184. 

Constitution, United States, Davis 
upholds, 102; Thirteenth Amend- 
ment, 134. 

Constitutional Union Party, hope for 
a, 90 

Conversation, an art in the South, 36 

Cook, Jane, 7, 9 

Corinth, Confederates retire to, 191 

Cotton, 37-38; shortage in Europe, 
250, 251 ; lost to England through 
cutting off of supply, 251; subsidy 
offer of, made to France, 274 

Courier, Charleston, tribute to Davis, 
176 

Crampton, John F. T., recalled, 211 

Craven, J. J., estimate of Davis, 

303 

Crawford, G. W., 158 

Crimean War, observers sent by 
Davis, no, 116 

Crittenden, John J., dinner to, 87- 
88 

Crittenden Compromise, 133, 134 

Crozet, Claude, 20 

Cuba, Davis and Lee refuse to lead 
expedition to liberate, 32; Black 
Warrior affair, 118 ; Ostend Mani- 
festo, 118-119 

Cushing, Caleb, made Attorney-Gen- 
eral, 99 

Dabney, Thomas S., 39 
Daily News, London, 263 
Dallas, George M,, 79 
Danville, Va., Confederate Govern- 
ment moved to, 291 
Da vies, Charles, 20 
Davies, Samuel, 9 
Davis, David, 8 
Davis, Evan, 8, 9 
Davis, Henry Winter, 23 
Davis, Jane Cook, 7, 9 



Davis, Jefferson 

Private life 

family, 7; birth, 10; education, 
12-24; West Point, 16-24; letter 
to Calhoun, 17; commission, 18; 
as student, 19, 20; influence of 
West Point upon, 22; ill health, 
26, 81, 125, 141, 154, 210, 224; 
first marriage, 29, 31 ; formative 
years at "The Brierfield," 34-45; 
reading, 35; second marriage, 
42; treatment of slaves, 42-43; 
as orator, 52, 53, 91 ; a potential 
duelist, 94 ; birth of son, 96 

Character, personality, 2, 21, 23, 
25, 28, 30, 41, 51, 53, 54, 59, 155, 
170, 188, 236, 296, 300, 303, 310, 
311, 322, 324, 326, 327; appear- 
ance 16, 22, 32, 33, 53, 79, 155; 
Charles Francis Adams' opinion 
of, 132; John Quincy Adams' 
estimate of, 133; voice, 13, 53, 

142, 310 

Army life, 24-33 

relations with the Indians, 25, 
27-28; made First Lieutenant: 
resignation from Army, 29 

^Politics 

credo, 4, 58, 78 Attitude toward 
State Sovereignty, 21, 30, 77, 89 ; 
political rise, 46-61; candidate 
for State Legislature, 48; stand 
on bond repudiation, 48-51; 
elected to Congress, 52; leom- 
pared to Calhoun, 53; Congress- 
man: expansionist, 54, 57, 63; 
Oregon boundary speech, quoted, 
57; cited, 63; resignation from 
Congress, 6i;**frict construction 
of Constitution, 78; declines to 
write article on Lincoln, 87; 
nominee for Governorship, 92; 
campaign: defeat, 93 
Mexican War, 62-77 
made Colonel of Mississippi 
regiment, 67; letter to the Vicks- 
burg Sentinel, 69; at Monterey, 
70; quoted, in support of Gen- 
eral Taylor, 71-72; stand at 
Buena Vista, 74; wounded, 75; 
offered Brigadier-Generalship, 
,76; commission declined, 77 

Senator, 78-92 

letter to Governor Brown, 78; 
committees : connection with 



354 



INDEX 



Smithsonian Institution, 80; 
dream of empire, 81; Calhoun's 
prediction, 85 ; compromise 
speech, 88 ; ^advocacy of secession, 
89; \quoted on dissolution of 
Union, 90; reelection, 91; opposi- 
tion to compromise measures, 91 ; 
resignation, 93 ; reflected in 1857: 
made Chairman of the Committee 
on Military Affairs, 113 ; Fateful 
Years, 1850-1860, 114-127; Le- 
comptpn Bill, 122; Presidential 
ambition, 125, 126; zenith of 
political power, 124; trip to 
North, 125; Urttitude on slavery, 
126 ; ^opposed to compromise on 
slavery extension, 134; reverses 
opinion on compromise, 135; 
guoted on secession of South 
Carolina, 136; influence with 
Buchanan superseded, 136, 137; 
in Senate after his State's seces- 
sion, 139; conspiracy of secession 
charged against, 140 

Secretary of War, 95-113 
change of view on Compromise, 
96; opposition to secession, 96, 
127; annexionist principles, zoo, 
103; interest in the Pacific rail- 
road, 101, zo2, 103, 104-105, 109; 
trip to New York: speeches on 
expansion, 102; on observance of 
the Constitution, 103; recom- 
mends use of camels, 105 ; meas- 
ures recommended for Army 
and West Point, 105-106; name 
removed from "Cabin John 
Bridge": restored, 107, 109; di- 
rection of public buildings, 107, 
no; correspondence with Roose- 
velt, 109; intimacy with Presi- 
dent Pierce, xio-xzz; one of 
best Secretaries of War, izz; 
house in Washington, 112; Presi- 

dent Pierce's appreciation of, 
113 

President of ike Confederacy, 145- 

z64 

chosen President, z, Z4O, Z44, 
150; hope of European recogni- 
tion, 2, 3, 6, zs6, z6o, Z79, z8z, 
*95 J 99 200, 201, 268 ; farewell 
to Senate, Z4i; desire to enter 
the Confederate Army, Z49; in- 
augural speech, Z5z; cabinet, 



152-153; Letters of Marque and 
Reprisal, i62-z63, I ^8, 244; the 
war, z 65-238 ; belief that Southern 
Army should not be one of ag- 
gression, 172; hung in effigy, 
Z74; desire to be on battlefield, 
175; Manassas, Z76; rumors of 
difficulties with General and 
Cabinet, Z78; second inaugura- 
tion, z8z; criticized by his own 
people, 187, 2zo, 223, 226, 234, 
296; relations with Congress: 
power of veto used, Z9o; appeal 
to Governors for troops, 191; 
visit to Western front, 204-205; 
criticism of English failure to 
recognize Southern independence, 
2zo; effect of Jackson's death 
upon, 214; cardinal mistake, re- 
moval of Johnston from com- 
mand, 229; opposed Johnston's 
removal, 230; relieved of mili- 
tary direction of the Army, 234; 
letter to Lee, quoted: refusal to 
consider peace negotiations ex- 
cept on basis of recognition, 235; 
foreign policy, 239, 244; letter to 
Semmes, 240; declares Butler a 
felon, 256; declines Napoleon 
Ill's offer of an audience, 288; 
under censure by his own people, 
291 ; trans-Mississippi plans, 293, 
299; last proclamation, 294; let- 
ter to his wife, 296 ; capture, 300, 
3oz; charged with conspiracy to 
assassinate Lincoln: a State pris- 
oner at Fortress Monroe, 303; 
released on bail, 304; in Eng- 
land: cheered, by Oxford stu- 
dents, 3o6;tiRlr* and Fall of the 
Confederate Government, 308 ; 
man without a country: speech at 
Mississippi City quoted, 3zo; first 
public appearance after the war, 
3zz; visit to Savannah, 3Z2; 
views on Prohibition, 3Z4-3I5; 
death, 318; refused pardon, 323; 
over-directed military end of 
government, 324-325 

Davis, John, 8 

Davis, Joe, death, 228 

Davis, Joseph, Z5, z6, Z7, 4z; influ- 
ence over Jefferson Davis, 28-29, 
35; gift of land to brother, 31; 
"The Hurricane," 34; plan of self- 



INDEX 



355 



government for slaves, 42; death, 
306 

Davis, Samuel Emory, 7, 9, 10, 12 

Davis, Sarah Knox Taylor (Mrs. 
Jefferson, first), marriage, 29, 31; 
death, 31 

Davis, Varina Howell (Mrs. Jeffer- 
son, second), 34, 35, 4<>, 4 1 , 54, 308; 
first impression of Davis, quoted, 
41; marriage, 42 

Davis, William, death, 306 

Davis, Winnie, 308 

Davis Bend, 34; care of negroes at, 
42-44 

Declaration of Paris, zx6 

Delafield, Richard, no 

De Leon, 261; arrival at Paris, 279; 
quoted, 280 

"Democracy on Trial," 264 

Democratic party, expansion pol- 
icy, 62; platform (1852): victory, 
98 

Dispatch, Richmond, 166 

Disunion advocated, 84-85 

"Dixie" (song), 129 

Dobbs, Arthur, 105 

Donoughmore, Earl of, 261 

Dorsey, Sarah A., 307-308 

"Double pen" log house, 10 
*DougIas, Stephen A., 84, 115; Kan- 
sas-Nebraska bill, 101 ; personality, 
120; repeal of the Missouri Com- 
promise, 121 ; Debates with Davis, 
126 

Drayton, Thomas F., 25 

Early, J. M., 28 

Early, Jubal A., raid in the Shenan- 
doah Valley, 232 

El let, Harry T., made Postmaster- 
General of the Confederacy, 153 

Emancipation Proclamation, drafted, 
199; issued, 200; Davis* views of: 
effect in North, 208; England, at- 
titude toward, 209 

Emigrant Aid Society, 122, 123 

England, attitude toward Confed- 
eracy 3-6, 239-270; Proclamation of 
Neutrality, 5, 244, 249; Oregon 
boundary settlement, 59; Anglo- 
American relations, 117-118; South- 
ern sympathy in, 179-180, 251; 
effect of Southern success upon, 
198 ; attitude toward Emancipation 
Proclamation, 209; neutrality, 210; 



effect of blockade upon cotton in- 
dustry, 272-273 

English Proclamation \>f Neutrality, 
1 80, 244 

Erl anger & Company, 279, 284 

Examiner, Richmond, criticism of 
Davis, 196 

Exchange of the World's Literature, 
80 

Fair Oaks, battle of, 197 

Farragut, David G., operations on 

the Mississippi, 191, 206 
"54 40' or Fight," 54, 62 
Flags, Confederate, returned to the 

South, 189 

Florida, secession, 132 
Florida, 199, 256 
Food, price of, in South, 227, 237 
Foote, Solomon, 23, 91, 92, 93 
Forsyth sent as Commissioner to 

Washington, 158 
Fort Jackson taken, 192 
Fort St. Philip captured, 192 
Fort Sumter, fired upon, 167 
Fourth Michigan Cavalry, 301, 302 
France and the Confederacy, 271- 

288 ; effect of blockade upon cotton 

industry, 272-273 
Fredericksburg, Burnside's defeat at, 

203; effect of, 204 
"Free soil, free speech and Fremont," 

124 

Free Soil party, platform, 98 
Freedom of the press in the South, 

186; results, 187 
Fremont, John C., 124; exploration in 

Mexico, 66 
Fugitive Slave law, 122, 125; Davis 

on, 89; Whigs for, 98 

Gadsden purchase, 75, 102 
Gaines's Mill, battle of, 197 
Garrison, William Lloyd, 122, 131 
General Amnesty of Christmas Day, 

1868, 304 
Gettysburg, Battle of, 219, 220; first 

day at, 219 
Gladstone, William E., Newcastle 

speech, excerpt, 240; journey to 

Newcastle, 251; sympathy ^ for the 

South, 252; denies subscribing to 

Confederate Loan, 253 
Grant, Ulysses S., capture of Vicks- 

burg, 223 ; General-in-Chief of the 



356 



INDEX 



Union Army, 227; memoirs, 309 

Great Eastern, 247 

Greeley, Horace, furnishes bond for 
bail of Davis, 302 

Green, Charles, 13 

Greene Monument, 313 

Greensboro, N. C., Confederate Gov- 
ernment moved to, 295 

Guadalupe Hidalgo, Treaty of, 75, 
83 

Hall, Basil, 267 

Hampton Roads Conference, 235 

Rarriet Lane, captured, 277 

Harrison, Burton N., 289, 301 

Harrison, Edward, 154 

Havens, Benny, 19 

Henry House Hill, 175 

"Hermitage, The," 12 

Higginson, Thomas W., 122 

"Higher Law Seward," 86, 87 

Hill, Benjamin H., 230; defense of 

Davis, 212 
Hinds, Major, 12 
Holley, Horace, 15 
Holt, Judge Advocate General, 303 
Hood, John Bell, failure to hold 

Richmond, 231 
Hotze, Henry, 261, 280, 282 
Howell, Varina. See Davis, Varina 

Howell 
Howell, Mr. and Mrs. William B., 

1 6, 41 

Humphreys, A. A., 23 
Hunter, R. M. T., 56, 137 
"Hurricane, The," 31, 34, 35, 307; 

self-government of slaves at, 42 
Huse, Major, 240 

Immigration, great stream of, 115 
Impending Crisis, The, 119 
Impressment Act of 1863, 215; as 

modified in 1864, 216 
Vlmpressment of slaves, 216 
Index, The, 261, 265, 280 
Indians, Davis' ability to make 

friends with, 25, 27; Black Hawk 

War, 27-28 
Industry, effect of conscription upon, 

185 

Inquirer, Philadelphia, 87 
Inquirer, Richmond, praise of Davis, 

190 

Jackson, Andrew, 12 

Jackson, Thomas Jonathan (Stone- 



wall), at Henry House Hill, 175; 
victory near Manassas, 176; orders 
men to yell, 179; genius of, 196; 
at Winchester, 197; cheered by 
bluecoats, 213; death, 214 

Japanese-American relations, 117 

John Brown's raid, 120 

Johnson, Andrew, in Congress, 55; 
expels Bright from Senate, 242; 
Davis* estimate of, 304 

\J6lmston, Albert Sidney, 19, 25; 
Davis' regard for: death, 191 

Johnston, Joseph E., 173, 207, 224, 
295; at West Point, 19; retreat 
from Yorktown, 194, 196; wounded, 
197; hatred of Davis, 203; given 
command of the Army of the West, 
226, 228; removed from command, 
229; Davis opposed removal, 230; 
restored to command, 235; meeting 
with Beauregard, 296-297; sur- 
render to Sherman, 300 

Jones, Jim, negro coachman, 301 

Kansas, enters Union as free state, 

123 
Kansas-Nebraska Act, 101, 109, 114, 

121, 123 

Kemble, Fanny, 267 
Know-Nothing party, 115 
Knoxville, captured by Burnside, 225 

Laird rams, 257, 276, 284 

Lamar, Judge, cited, 47; quoted, 
286 

Lane, Harriet, Miss, 132 

Lanier, Sidney, quoted, 309 

Layard, Sir Arthur, 263 

Lecompton Constitution, 122-123 

Lee, Robert E., 32, 162; at West 
Point, 19; member of commission 
to reorganize West Point, 23 ; made 
Lieutenant-Colonel in United States 
Army, 106; as head of the Army 
of Virginia, 173 ; Urfade military 
adviser to Davis, 183 ; given com- 
mand of the Army of Northern 
Virginia, 197; invasion of Mary- 
land, 200; victory at Chancellors- 
ville, 214; plan for invasion of the 
North, 218 ; invasion of the North, 
219; retreat after Gettysburg, 220; 
V*Tsignation sent to Davis: refused, 
221 ; opposes Grant's movement on 
Richmond, 228r\ifrged drafting of 



INDEX 



negroes, 233; made Commander- 
in-Chief, 235; counseled evacuation 
of Richmond, 289 

Letters of Marque and Reprisal, right 
of Congress to issue, 162, 163, 168; 
Lincoln's power to issue, 257 
Lexington, Ky., captured by Kirby 

Smith, 201 

Liberator, Boston, 36 
Library Committee, 80 
Lincoln, Abraham, birth, 10 ; military 
experience, 28; in House, 87; bill 
for extinction of slavery in District 
of Columbia, 88; Woodrow Wil- 
son quoted on, 124; elected Presi- 
dent, 128, 129; inaugural address, 
excerpt, 159; call for volunteers, 
161 ; declares blockade of Southern 
ports, 168; Emancipation Procla- 
mation, drafted, 199; removes Mc- 
Clellan from command, 203 ; Eman- 
cipation Proclamation, 208; at low 
point of popularity, 209; quoted, 
223; plan to pay for emancipated 
slaves, 235; power to issue Letters 
of Marque, 257; assassination, 
news of, reaches Davis, 298 
Lincoln, Thomas B., 24.1 
Lindsay, William Shaw, represents 
interests of South in House of 
Commons, 248-249 
"Little Chief," 26. See Davis, Jef- 
ferson 

"Little Giant." See Douglas, Ste- 
phen A. 

Little Round Top, 220 
Longstreet, James, 220 
Lyons, Lord, 242 ; dispatch regarding 
"the new republic," 3-6 



357 



McClellan, George Brinton, sent to 
observe Crimean War, no; super- 
sedes General Scott, 181; plan to 
capture Richmond, 195; demoted, 
196; restored to command of Army 
of the Potomac: success at South 
Mountain, 200; end of military 
command, 203 

McDowell, Irvin, 174 

Mahan, Alfred T., 20; quoted, 82 

Mahan, Denis H., 19 

Maine, Prohibition in, 115 

Mallory, S. R., Secretary of the Navy 
of the Confederacy, 153; resigna- 
tion, 299 



Malvern Hill, 198 

Manassas, battle near, 176; results, 

"Manassas time," 178 
"Manifest destiny," 82, 102 
Mann, A Dudley, 157, 286, 288 
Marcy, William L., given Secretary- 
ship of State, 99 
Martial law declared in Richmond, 

183 

Martineau, Harriet, 267 
Mason, James M., 86; sent to Eng- 
land, 246; Trent affair, 247; re- 
quested by Davis to leave London, 
259; sent as Commissioner to Eng- 
land, 260; Confederate Foreign 
Cotton Loans, 283-284 
Mason, John Y., quoted, 167 
Maury, Matthew Fontaine, 119 
Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico 
282 * 

May Day, ^63, 213 
Meigs, Montgomery C., work on ex- 
tension of the Capitol, 107 
Memminger, Charles G., 160; made 
Secretary of Treasury of the Con- 
federacy, 153 

Mercier, letter to Thouvenel, cited, 
i; estimate of Davis, 2; visit to 
Richmond, 249; advocates recogni- 
tion of South, 250 
Mercury, Charleston, 56, 90; stand 

on tariff, 148; excerpt, 177, 187 
Mernmac, 194 
Methodist Church South, 316 
Merternich, K. W. N. L. von, 287 
Mexican War, 62-77; battle at Mon- 
terey, 70; Buena Vista, 74; Treaty 
of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 75, 83; 
Lincoln opposed, 87 
Mexico, Napoleon Ill's designs upon, 
2 75> 287; Confederate Minister re- 
fused recognition, 278; guarantee 
of, a condition of recognizing 
Southern States, 283 
Military service age, 185 
Milledgeville Convention, 131 
Milne, Admiral, 247 
Missionary Ridge, battle on, 226 
Wtfississippi, Davis family moves to, 
10 ; plantation life, 34-45; soil, 37; 
cotton, 38; population^ 46; repudi- 
ates bonds, 48-51 ; ^attitude toward 
union, 92;jsetession of, 132, 139 
"Mississippi Rifles, The," 68; at 



358 



INDEX 



Monterey, 70; at Buena Vista, 74- 

75; mustered out, 76 
Mississippi River steamboats, 13 
Mississippi Valley, importance of, 

? 2 . 

Mississippi Valley Society, 307 

Missouri Compromise repeal, 121 

Mobile, fall of, 232 

Monitor, 194 

Monroe Doctrinej^g, 287 

Monterey, battle of, 70; capitulation, 

7* 

Montgomery, Alabama, as capital of 

the Confederacy, 145, 154 
Mordecai, Alfred, no 
Morning Star, London, 263 

Napoleon III, 64; interest in Amer- 
ica, 2-3 ; and the Confederacy, 273- 
288; designs upon Mexico, 275, 
287 

Nat Turner insurrection, 36 
\fegro troops, movement to raise, 
233; bill authorizing, 234 

Negroes, self-governed at "The 
Brierfield," 42 ; price of, 43 ; cost 
of maintenance: social scale, 44. 
See also Slavery: Slaves 

New Mexico, 85; ceded to United 
States, 75 

New Orleans, fall of, 191; Butler, 
military governor of, 192 

Nicaragua, desirability of protec- 
torate over, loo 

Nicaragua Canal, 118 
VNorth Carolina joins the Confed- 
eracy, 169 

Oath of allegiance to the United 
States, required of West Point 
cadets, 21 

"Old Rough and Ready." See Tay- 
lor, Zachary 

Order 28, Butler's, 192 

Oregon, on admission to Union as 
free or slave state, 83 

Oregon boundary, 54-55, 57-58; set- 
tlement accomplished, 59, 63 

Ostend Manifesto, 118, 119 

Ozanne, T. D., quoted, 267 

Page, Walter Hines, impression of 

Davis, 310 
Palmerston, Viscount, 178; opinion of 

Americans, 242; quoted, 249 



Paradol, PrSvost, 281 

Patterson, Robert, 173 

Payne, J. U., 318 

"Peculiar institution," 42, 58, 83, 84, 
85, 115, 121, 130, 171 

Pemberton, James, 26, 42; friendship 
between Davis and, 45 

Pemberton, John C., in command of 
Mississippi, 206; surrender to 
Grant, 223 

Pencader Hundred, 8 

Peninsula campaign, 195; failure of, 
198 

Pennsylvania, Lee in, 219 

Perry, Matthew Calbraith, 117 

Petersburg, evacuation of, 289 

Physical Geography of the Sea, 119 

Pierce, Franklin, 32; elected Presi- 
dent, 97-98; invites Davis to place 
in Cabinet, 98 ; makes Davis Secre- 
tary of War, 99; trip to New York, 
102; Davis' intimacy with, izo-zzz; 
his the only Cabinet unchanged 
throughout an Administration, 112; 
quoted, 112, 113; Davis' influence 
over, 125 

Pittsburg Landing, 191 

Plantation life, 34-45 

Planter's Bank, issues of Mississippi 
bonds, 48-51 

Planters, Southern, 185 

Polk, James K., on Oregon boundary, 
57; quoted on Mexican border 
trouble, 60; elected on expansion 
platform, 62; criticism of General 
Taylor, 71 

Polk, Leonidas, 19 

Pollard, editor of Examiner, 250 

Pope, H. W., court of arbitration, 314 

Pope, John, defeat at Second Bull 

.Run and Cedar Mountain, 199 
VPopuIar sovereignty, Davis' views 
on, 125, 126 

Porter, David D., 192; a camel ex- 
pert, zi6 

Prentiss, Sargeant S., 4$, 76 

Preparedness, Davis stresses need of, 
103, zo4 

Press, freedom of, in the South, z86; 
results, 187 

Press, English, attitude toward the 
war, 198, 261-262 

Prichard, Colonel, 301 

Privateering as a right of South, 
recognized by England, 244 



INDEX 



359 



Proclamation of Neutrality, English, 

180, 244 
Prohibition, in the '505, 115; Davis' 

views on, $14-31$ 
Propaganda in England and France, 

261 

Pryor, Roger, quoted, 168 
Putman, Emily James, quoted, 217 

Quarterly Review, 264 
Quitman, John A., 90, 92, 100; at 
Monterey, 70 

Railroad to Pacific coast, Davis' in- 
terest in, 101, 102, 103; Kansas- 
Nebraska Act, 102, 121 ; surveys, 
104-105; Davis* outstanding con- 
tribution, 109 

Rappahannock, 286 

Rawle, A View of the Constitution if 
the United States, 21; excerpt, 22 

Reagan, John T., made Postmaster- 
General of the Confederacy, 153 

Rebel Yell, 70, 179, 227 

Reciprocity Treaty between Canada 
and the United States, 117 

Republican party, 115; formation of, 
123 t 

Repudiation of bonds in Mississippi, 
48, 49-51 

Rhett, R. Barnwell, 56, 90 

Richmond, made capital of the Con- 
federacy, 164; martial law de- 
clared in, 183 ; conditions in 1862, 
189; evacuation, 291-292 

Rise and Fall of the Confederate 
Government, The, 308 

River and Harbor Bill, 60 

*Rock of Chickamauga," 225 

Rodrigo, quoted, 287 

Roebuck, John Arthur, 258 

Roman, Governor, 158 

Roosevelt, Theodore, restores Davis' 
name on "Cabin John Bridge," 107, 
109; correspondence with Davis, 
108 

Rosecrans, William S., succeeded in 
command by Thomas, 225 

Rost, Pierre A., 157, 158 

Rush, Richard, 3 

Russell, Lord John, attitude toward 
Southern Confederacy, 3 ; quoted 
on recognition of the South, 249; 
quoted, 257 



Russell, William Henry, 23; impres- 
sion of Davis, 155; connection with 
Army and Navy Gazette, 262 

Salisbury, Lord Robert Cecil, 264; 
supports Southern cause, 265; trib- 
ute to Davis, quoted, 266 

San Jacinto, 245, 246, 247 

Santa Anna, A. L. de, 73-74 

Scotch-Irish, the, 7 

Scott, Winfield, in Mexican War, 68 ; 
march to Mexico City, 75; Presi- 
dential nominee, 97; "Anaconda 
policy," 173; superseded by Mc- 
JCleHan, 181 

^Secession, French attitude toward, 
1-3; British attitude, 3-6; rumors 
of, 90; Davis* opposition to, 96 

Secret Service fund, 280 

Seddon, James E., 202, 231, 237 

Selective Draft Act of 1917, 183-184 

Seminary Ridge, 220 

Semmes, Raphael, 241 

Sentinel, Vicksburg, Davis* letter to, 
cited, 69 

Seven Days' Battles, 195, 198 

Seven Pines, battle of, 197 

Seward, William H., in, 161, 166; 
opinion of Calhoun: on slavery in 
the territories, 86 

Shaw, John A., 14 

Shenandoah Valley, Jackson in the, 
196 

Sherman, William Tecumseh, march 
to the sea, 229 

"Sherman's neckties," 231 

Shiloh, battle of, 191 

Slavery, 92; spread of, 46; African 
trade prohibited - in Confederate 
States, 148. See also Negroes 

Slaves, impressment of, 216; move- 
ment to enlist, 233 ; bill authorizing 
raising of negro troops, 234 

Slidell, John, 140; Special Ambassa- 
dor to Mexico, 63-66 ; Trent affair, 
247; Commissioner to France, 271- 
288; and Napoleon III, 273-276, 
277-278, 285, 288; Confederate 
Foreign Cotton Loans, 284 

Smith, Caleb B., 107 

Smith, Kirby, 201 

Society in the South, 267 

Soule, Pierre, appointed Minister to 
Spain, in; Black Warrior inci- 
dent, 118-119 



360 



INDEX 



South Carolina, secession, 130; War 

begun by, 168 
South Carolina Commissioners, 136, 

137; Buchanan declines to receive, 

138 

South Mountain, battle oi, 200 

Southern Commissioners. See South 
Carolina Commissioners 

Southern Rights Party, 90 

Southerners, influence of plantation 
life upon, 35; interest in politics, 
36; individualism of, opposed to 
discipline, 202 

Southwest, trek to the, 39, 46 

Spectator, London, 263 

Speight, Jesse, 78 

Standard, Raleigh, printing plant 
wrecked, 186 

Stanton, Edwin McMasters, quoted, 
177 

Star of the West fired upon, 138 
vState Sovereignty, Davis* attitude 

toward, ax, 30, 77, 89 
States Rights, 92, 96 

Stephens, Alexander H., 55, 90, 235; 
on secession, 131; chosen Vice- 
President of the Confederacy, 150; 
prepared Confederate Constitution, 
159; sent to Richmond, 169; view 
of conscription, 184; out of sym- 
pathy with President, 326 

Stonewall, 279 

Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 120 

"Straggling," 202 

Tariff bill, 69 

Tariff on goods from Northern 

States, 148 
Taylor, Sarah Knox. See Davis, 

Sarah Knox 
Taylor, Zachary, 26, 83, 87; dislike 

of Davis, 30 ; in Mexican War, 65- 

66; at Monterey, 70-71; House 

resolution of thanks to, 72; at 

Buena Vista, 74 
Ten Regiments Bill, 82 
Tennessee, joins the Confederacy, 

169; effect of Shiloh on, 191; 

Tennyson, Alfred, quoted, 268 
Texas, cotton, 38; annexation, 54-55, 

62; ratification of annexation, 64; 

boundary set at Rio Grande, 75 
Thayer, E., Emigrant Aid Society, 

122 

Thomas, George H., given command 



of the Army of the Cumberland, 
225 ; victory at Washville, 232 

Thompson, Jacob, 138 

Thouvenel, Edouard Antoine, i, 2, 
250 

Times, London, excerpt, 49, 50, 119, 
252, 262 

Tocqueville, Alexis C. H. C. de, 267 

Toombs, Robert, 55, 90, 215; quoted, 
131; on Oregon question, 58; men- 
tioned for Presidency of Confed- 
erate States, 149; made Secretary 
of State, 153 ; made Brigadier- 
General, 1 80; warning to Davis, 
212; war portfolio declined, 326 

Transportation problem a major 
cause of South's collapse, 237 

Transylvania University, 14 

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 75, 83 

Trenholm, George A., 153 ; offers his 
resignation, 234 

Trent affair, 245, 247, 248, 271 

Trollope, Anthony, 267 

Turner, Nat, insurrection, 36 

"Twenty nigger law," 186 

Uncle Tom's Cabin, 120 
Union, Washington, excerpt, 49 
Union Bank, issues of Mississippi 

bonds, 48-51 

United States, relations with Mexico, 
64; Congress declares war with 
Mexico, 66; foreign relations, 104, 
117. See also Anglo-American re- 
lations; Oregon boundary; Texas 
annexation 
United States Military Academy. See 

West Point 
Utah, 85 

Vance, Z. B., 211, 216 

Vattemare, promotes Exchange of 

World's Literature, 80 
Vere, Schele de, 281 note 
Vicksburg, 222; fall of, 223; mean- 

jng of fall to the Confederacy, 278 
Virginia, industrial depression, 39, 

46; secession of, 161, 166; refuses 

troops to Lincoln, 169 
Virginia, 194 

Walker, Leroy P., made Secretary of 
War of the Confederacy, 153; 
commissioned Brigadier-General, 
180 



INDEX 



361 



Walker, Robert J., 51, 69 
Walker, William, 100, n8 
Walker Tariff bill, 69 
Walthall, W. T., 308 
War Department, during Davis* Sec- 
retaryship, 95-113 
"War of the East," no 
Waring, J. J., 3*3 . 
Washington, D. C., life in, 111-112, 

132 

Watts, T. H., 215 

Wayne, H. C., 116, 224 

Webster, Daniel, 86 

Weed, Thurlow, 134 

Weitzel, Godfrey, 292 

Welsh, the, 8 

West Point, 16-24; oath of allegiance 
required of cadets, 21 ; a domi- 
nating force in Davis' life, 22; 
Davis advocates five-year training 
course, 106; Confederate Officers 
trained at, 170 

Westfield, destroyed, 277 

Whigs, Southern, plan for a Consti- 
tutional Union Party, 90 

<f White House," Montgomery, 154, 
155 



"White House of the Confederacy," 
Richmond, 170 

Wigfall, Senator, 150 

Wilderness, battle of the, 227 

Wilkes, Charles, 245, 246, 247 

Wilmot Proviso, 82, 83 

Wilson, James H., receives Davis as 
prisoner, 303 

Wilson, Woodrow, quoted, 60, 62, 
211 ; quoted on Lincoln, 124; Proc- 
lamation on the Selective Draft 
Act of 1917, 183 ; sees Davis under 
Federal guard, 303 

Winchester, Confederate victory at, 
197 

Wood, John Taylor, 295, 296, 300 

Woodville, Mississippi, 10 

Worth, W. J., at Monterey, 70- 
7* 

Yancey, William L., 55, 90, 157, 158; 

quoted, 146 
Yancey Commission, 156, 239, 243, 

246 

"Yankee's Run," 178 
Yorktown, Confederate Army at, 

194